Wes Moore | WYPR

Wes Moore

Host, Future City

Wes Moore is a decorated Army combat veteran, youth advocate and CEO of BridgeEdU, a national initiative focusing on addressing the college completion and career placement crisis by reinventing the Freshman Year of college. He is also the author of two instant New York Times bestselling books, The Other Wes Moore and The Work.

Art puts the Charm in Charm City. But with federal budget cuts that threaten the Arts, what does the future look like for arts education and cultural initiatives? 

The Trump Administration’s budget for 2019 calls for eliminating four federal cultural agencies in a move that would save almost $1 billion from a $4.4 trillion spending plan – these cultural agencies include National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

These funding cuts are indicative of a disturbing trend in both federal and state budgets that place little emphasis on the arts. Arts education in schools is particularly vulnerable – with more quote ‘employable’ disciplines lines math and science being emphasized – many educators are worried subjects like music, art, and literature will be poorly funded, or in some cases, cut altogether.

On this episode, Wes learns about the power of arts education on students long-term and talks with local arts educators, activisists, and non-profit leaders. 

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Trends are suggesting that fewer and fewer people will be opting for a four-year college degree in the future. The average student who takes out student loans ends up with nearly 30,000 dollars to pay back, and many graduates just aren’t seeing a return on their investment: About 44% of graduates end up at a job that doesn’t require a college degree.

So what is the future of higher education? Some say it’s vocational and trade schools – programs that offer more technical training in specialized fields – many which traditionally haven’t required a bachelor’s degree.

But is our education system set up for students in vocational schools to succeed? What about students who don’t go to college? What sort of economic outlooks will they be looking at?

AP Photo/John Minchillo

A new study by the McKinsey Global Institute estimates that between 400 million and 800 million of today’s jobs will be automated by 2030. The road toward total automation has some people exhilarated… and some people very, very concerned. With robots taking so many jobs, what will the future of work look like here in the United States? 

This is where the idea of “universal basic income” comes in. We’re going to be exploring the idea that everyone, no matter what, gets a certain amount of money from the government in depth on this month's episode. Some say UBI will address the inevitable lack of jobs in an automated age, while others say this is apocalyptic thinking that could bankrupt the nation. 

All trends point to the number of independent voters only increasing as the divide between the two major parties grows wider and wider… So what will our future cities look like in terms of party politics? Is this the end of the party system altogether or is the time ripe for a new party to gain national traction? On this episode, Wes explores the history of the two-party system and asks if it's possible for a third party to gain any traction in our current political landscape. 

In 2015, there were over seven-hundred Confederate monuments displayed in cities, parks, and towns throughout the United States. Since that time more than 25 American cities have removed one or more Confederate monuments from public view, sparking a heated national debate - Is this revisionist history or an attempt at rectifying a historical wrong? The country is extremely divided. Baltimore's four explicitly Confederate statues were removed during the night in August of 2017. In this episode, Wes asks experts to contextualize these monuments and their purpose, while asking how we will address memorials and historical memory in our future cities. 

In this encore edition of Future City, Wes explores how Baltimore is working to keep pace with the burgeoning Maker Movement, a lifestyle and philosophy based on the idea that a do-it-yourself attitude changes lives for the better. Is the movement really all its proponents say it’s cracked up to be?  Or is it leaving women and the disadvantaged on the sidelines? 

2017 is looking to be a record setting year when it comes to natural disasters in the United States. Climate change and a growing population have all contributed to a rise in natural disasters around the world… So what’s being done about it? This month, Wes looks at where governments have fallen short when it comes to preventing natural disasters, as well as addressing concerns we have as Marylanders living in a coastal state. 

This month on Future City – the average house size in America is somewhere around twenty-six-hundred square feet... but many people are saying “no” to “bigger is better” – instead opting to live in so-called “tiny homes” – some as small as one-hundred-eighty square feet… Wes talks with people so passionate about this movement they made a podcast out of it – The Tiny House Podcast – along with social innovators looking to use tiny homes as a solution to homelessness. 

This month on the show – Did you know, on average, households of color are 2.2 times as likely to be asset poor compared to their white counterparts? This means that when there’s a bump in the road – a health emergency, a car accident, an unplanned pregnancy – these families become highly vulnerable. Baltimore is a minority-majority city, but the city’s communities of color still lag behind their white counterparts. How the city is evolving and how a history of discriminatory financial practices continues to hold people back: Wes speaks with economists, activists, and journalists and asks, how can communities of color build and sustain wealth?

Smart Cities

Sep 20, 2017

What do you think of when you think of a Smart City? Wi-fi hubs, self-driving vehicles, maybe…  but what about data analysis and research institutions? In this hour, Wes explores the idea of Smart Cities – connectivity hubs that use big data to change the way we interact in urban environments. We’ll be learning from the example of Seattle, Washington – a city that just hired a Smart City Coordinator and has been leading the way when it comes to urban innovation – we’ll then speak with two leaders at Johns Hopkins devoted to making city government more efficient and effective.

In this hour, Wes explores education technology and online learning – discussing everything from coding as a foreign language to the potential dangers of the privatization. We’ll also learn how online learning has the potential to make education more equitable and accessible. Wes speak with some of the most influential people in the field of education technology and asks tough questions about the future of learning here in Baltimore and beyond. 


In this hour, Wes turns a critical eye toward public transit. He speaks with transportation expert and Harvard Business School Professor, Rosabeth Kanter. He then talks with Alex Fischer of the Columbus Partnership about how the private sector can be vital to developing Smart transit systems. Turning back to to Baltimore – he speaks with Jimmy Rouse of the Baltimore Transit Campaign and with Samuel Jordan of the Baltimore Transit Equity Coalition. Finally, he'll talk with Liz Cornish of Bikemore about how biking connects diverse communities. Baltimore has notoriously poor public transit - what does the future of transportation look like for our city?  

Guests on this program include: 

In this episode, Wes explores how Baltimore is working to keep pace with the burgeoning Maker Movement, a lifestyle and philosophy based on the idea that a do-it-yourself attitude changes lives for the better. Is the movement really all its proponents say it’s cracked up to be?  Or is it leaving women and the disadvantaged on the sidelines? 

Community Schools

Sep 16, 2016
Glenn Harton

In the 1990's, Cincinnati's schools were so bad that Ohio's Supreme Court deemed them unconstitutional and demanded a radical overhaul.  The city answered the call with a remarkable innovation:  They   converted the schools into community learning centers, where healthcare, dental care and daycare could all happen in the building, right alongside academics.  Wes looks at how community schools changed life in Cincinnati, and how Baltimore has begun to embrace the trend, as well.