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Imagine substituting a laptop for a Bible while you’re in church. why not? You can download your daily word when you plug in during the service.
At least that’s what Bishop T.D. Jakes envisions for his new facility. The senior pastor of The Potter’s House, a multiracial, nondenominational spiritual powerhouse located in southern Dallas, hosts three services every Sunday (7:00 a.m., 9:30 a.m. and 11:45 a.m.) for the church’s 25,000 members. “We already have a Website (www.TDJAKES.org) and we uplink our services via satellite on a weekly basis,” he explains. And there’s no need for those paper programs, since upcoming events are posted on the church’s Website and prayer requests are e-mailed too. “If you’re going to survive, you have to help [your members] improve their personal and professional endeavors, and that also means providing the best technology.”
But techno-churches are only one facet of Dallas’ technological landscape. Several technology-based firms have made this Texas town their home, including Comp USA, Dallas Semiconductor, Excel Communications and Texas Instruments. In addition, a host of out-of-state, technically savvy employees are also relocating to Dallas.
It’s no wonder. Dallas has a lot of wonderful things going for it. It’s the ninth largest city in the United States and the third largest city in Texas. The cost of living is moderate when compared to most cities, with an inflation rate in 1998 of 1.5% compared with the national average of 1.6%. Plus, there’s no personal state income tax. In addition, crime is down–partially due to tough anti-gang policies and strong community involvement. In 1997, the Dallas Police Department reported 100,616 crimes, a decline of 36% from 1990 figures. Homicides dropped to 201 in 1997, the lowest number since 1974. “We’ve invested a lot in public safety,” says Mayor Ron Kirk, pointing out that the police force now stands at 2,800 members. “We have put more police on the streets, bicycle patrols in downtown and have built more libraries and parks for our young people to [reduce] juvenile crime.”
And what does Dallas have to offer African Americans? A wealth of diversity. With a population of just over 1 million, Dallas has the 10th largest African American population (29% are black) in the nation, the 11th largest Hispanic population and the 17th largest Asian population in the U.S. Key officials-the mayor, the police chief, the head of the chamber of commerce and the U.S. Congresswoman in whose district Dallas falls-are all African American.
Clearly blacks are plugged in at all levels. But we thought you’d want to know how Dallas’ techno-craze impacts employment, entrepreneurship, economics and entertainment. Surf these next few pages to find out.
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How low will Dallas’ unemployment rate go? In recent years, it has been hovering around 4%, according to the Texas Workforce Commission. This is a vast improvement over 1992, when the average was nearly 9%. For job seekers, employment opportunities have been plentiful in the last few years and opportunities still abound. From 1990 to 1998, the Dallas area had a net