Jim Johnson

William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School; Director, Urban Investment Strategies Center and Competitive Economies Idea Lab, Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise

Jim Johnson is the William R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at the UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School and leads the social track of the UNC Minor in Entrepreneurship. He is also the director of the Urban Investment Strategies Center and Competitive Economies Idea Lab at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. The center works to help North Carolina nurture and grow an innovation economy, conscious of and with concerted efforts to be more inclusive of people of color and women, that will likely yield big socioeconomic dividends.

He also started the Elder Care Economy Innovations Hub at the Frank Hawkins Kenan Institute of Private Enterprise. The joint venture with the business school and the Gillings School of Global Public Health is applying the intellectual capital and entrepreneurial acumen of scholars and practitioners in UNC’s business, medical, public health and social work schools, as well as its biomedical engineering, city planning and public policy departments. Johnson has spent the past two decades examining and testing strategies for successfully educating children who live in areas of concentrated poverty. He is the founder of the Minority Male Bridge to Success Project, an initiative of the business school in partnership with Global Scholars Academy in Durham, which he also founded.

His research interests include community and economic development, the effects of demographic changes on the US workplace, interethnic minority conflict in advanced industrial societies, urban poverty and public policy in urban America, and workforce diversity issues. Johnson and John D. Kasarda co-authored “The Economic Impact of the African American Population on the State of North Carolina” and a study on the economic impact of North Carolina’s Hispanic population. With support from the Russell Sage Foundation, Johnson published research on the economic impact of Sept. 11 on US metropolitan communities. Currently he is researching the economic and employment impact of white collar job shifts offshore on US competitiveness.

Johnson examines the causes and consequences of growing inequality in American society, particularly as it affects socially and economically disadvantaged youth; entrepreneurial approaches to poverty alleviation, job creation, and community development; inter-ethnic minority conflict in advanced industrial societies; and business demography and workforce diversity issues. Fast Company profiled him in “Hopes and Dreams.” He has published more than 100 scholarly research articles and three research monographs and has co-edited four theme issues of scholarly journals on these and related topics. His latest book is “Prismatic Metropolis: Inequality in Los Angeles.” He received his PhD from Michigan State University, his master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and his bachelor’s degree from North Carolina Central University.