A healthy, vibrant, and livable community pays a Living Wage

We feel the challenges faced in our community every day as we work to build a better community. In today’s climate, there is a shortage of affordable housing, flexible childcare, efficient transportation options, and food accessibility challenges. We know these problems can be solved and there are good people determined to find solutions, but complications continue to hinder progress. These are not simple challenges, but rather systemic problems with many challenges and barriers to face before finding a solution. We want to be a part of the solution and believe that paying a living wage is essential to building a healthy, vibrant, and livable community. Thus, we are encouraging business owners to begin the journey of paying a living wage and spread the message about its importance.

The Harrisonburg Rockingham Living Wage Certification serves to enhance the health, vitality, and livability of our community. Foundationally, our team at Gaines Group Architects strives to build a better community through design, this guides our decisions in projects, pro-bono work, and where we invest our time and resources. Our mission gives us a baseline in accomplishing business ethically and with care, which led us to learn more about obtaining the Living Wage Gold Certification. We understand there is a relationship between thriving team and community members who feel valued for their contributions and the subsequent positive impacts on our client’s experience.

As an architecture firm, we exceeded the baseline for gold-level certification without modifying pay scales. The process of learning about the impacts of paying a fair wage gave us the opportunity to engage in intentional and clarifying discussions concerning our most valuable asset: our team members. We are accustomed to adjusting pay rates along with advancement in careers and inflation, but this was the first time we discussed what it takes to live comfortably in a community. Some of the areas we identified as essential in promoting quality of life ranged from access to childcare, the ability to pay utility bills, or appropriately budget for groceries.

Paying a living wage directly affects the overall community and supports a robust local economy. There is a chain reaction that occurs when we invest in our workforce, and we encourage all businesses in Harrisonburg and Rockingham to consider this certification. Even if your organization is unable to currently meet the standard, it will open up a thoughtful conversation about the cost of living in our community. For more information on this program, visit www.hrlivingwage.org or watch the video here https://www.facebook.com/hrlivingwage/videos/387194656280216/.