Advocating for Inclusive Job Growth

Advocating for Inclusive Job Growth Main Photo

25 Feb 2022

Workforce, News

Advocating for Inclusive Job Growth

By Isaac Russell, Director of Public Policy, Center for Economic Inclusion, and Andrea Ferstan, Vice President of Innovation, Policy and Research, Center for Economic Inclusion

Our state economy faces a set of unique challenges. Employers are currently struggling to find and retain talent. They are also grappling with disrupted supply chains and a lack of relationships with and access to diverse suppliers positioned to meet their procurement needs. 

Workers, both employed and those seeking employment, continue to face challenges finding good jobs that pay family sustaining wages and offer benefits that help families move up the economic ladder. The shortage of good jobs with employers who foster racial equity, inclusion, and belonging in ways that help employees feel affirmed and appreciated for who they are not only harms workers, it is also a barrier for employers who need high engagement to drive productivity, retention, and economic growth.

One solution is to invest in inclusive job growth. Investing in job creation, business development, and supplier diversity strategies to expand the number of jobs in businesses owned by Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian people and women-owned businesses can accelerate inclusive economic growth in Minnesota and expand employment avenues for Ramsey County residents.

Policy is a powerful tool for justice. By leveraging our collective power as employers to advocate for inclusive and equitable regional, state, and federal public policies, we can stimulate inclusive economic growth and build vibrant communities. We encourage you to consider your relationships, take every opportunity you have to use the knowledge you’ve gained in building a diverse workforce and inclusive organization to educate legislators this session on the economic imperative to invest in businesses and workers, particularly those from Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian communities.

At the state Legislature this session, the Center for Economic Inclusion is advocating for inclusive job growth. We believe that creating a statewide fund to connect employers to jobseekers from racially diverse communities and grow the number of scaleable businesses in Black and Brown communities is a smart investment that will pay dividends in our economy. To achieve it, we’re advocating for a $10 million Inclusive Job Growth Fund.

The Center for Economic Inclusion’s Inclusive Job Growth Fund will support the state in two ways:

1. Create Good Jobs & Invest in Inclusive Workplaces - Pay for performance contracts with proven, community-based organizations who train and connect jobseekers to employment and provide critical services to support employment retention, such as counseling, peer mentoring and support services, housing, and transportation. Services will be provided in Minneapolis, St. Paul, St. Cloud, Rochester, Willmar, Duluth, and other communities.

2. Build Wealth in Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian Communities – A loan fund offering forgivable loans, revenue-based financing and equity investments, coordinated support services and referrals for B2B purchasing, and connections to the state’s CDFI network for business development, expansion, and property acquisition and development.

The state's Legislature’s policies and investments to close stagnant racial employment, income, and wealth gaps can accelerate economic growth in Minnesota. In fact, according to McKinsey & Co., closing racial wealth gaps could add 4% to 6 % to the U.S. GDP by 2028.

The Economic Imperative: Why an Inclusive Job Growth Fund & What the Data Show

Economic Growth Requires Talent and is Accelerated by Racial Diversity & Inclusion

  • Minnesota has an estimated two jobs for every person seeking employment.
  • Pandemic-related layoffs disproportionately affected women, Indigenous, and Black Minnesotans, with more than 8 in 10 Black employees and more than 7 in 10 American Indian employees having filed unemployment claims, compared to 4 in 10 non-Hispanic white employees.
  • Advancing racial equity and achieving inclusive growth would mean new opportunities for participation in the economy and an additional $6,000-$8,500 in annual income per capita.
  • Workforce Development programs like North@Work, Mind the G.A.P.P. Ujamaa Place, the East Side Employment Xchange, Summit Academy OIC and many others are training workers and transforming results for Minnesota’s employers and the economy and yet, we must work together, faster and with more urgency to ensure workers have opportunities for good jobs in today’s economy

Black and Brown Businesses Accelerate Economic Growth and GDP

  • White entrepreneurs attract 17 times more equity capital than Black entrepreneurs.
  • Disproportionate impact of the pandemic on Black-owned businesses, with a 41% drop in the number of active business owners.
  • Collectively, minority-owned businesses generate $5.2 billion in annual revenue and are Minnesota’s 9th largest employer.
  • Minority-owned businesses grow at 3.5 times the rate of all Minnesota businesses.

Your Voice Matters

According to McKinsey’s Institute for Black Economic Mobility, over 30% of public policies created to address racial disparities result in exacerbated results in communities of color. To address racism, we must invest in organizations and businesses led by Black, Indigenous, Latinx, and Asian people. Contact your state legislator about your workforce needs, share data on your workforce and supply chain challenges, and discuss the need for investments, policies, and actions.

Why now?

Minnesota will appropriate $2.58 billion from the American Rescue Plan Act. Not only is this an unprecedented amount of federal resources coming into our state, counties, and cities, it is a historic opportunity for targeted investments aimed at growing an inclusive economy that will stimulate economic growth and shared, equitable prosperity.

The Center and Ramsey County will continue partnering together and with many others to advance solutions to close racial employment, income, and wealth gaps and build racially inclusive and equitable regional economies.

Policymakers have a critical role to play and the voices of employers, workers, and business owners have never been more powerful in informing the decisions made at the Capital. Your voice must be at the table to ensure every dollar invested in our state leads to a more prosperous and racially equitable and inclusive state -- a state we can all be proud of.

Raise your voice!


About the Center for Economic Inclusion

The Center for Economic Inclusion is committed to closing racial employment, income, and wealth gaps, and building racially inclusive and equitable regional economies. Founded in 2017, the Center is the nation’s first Black woman-owned and led organization dedicated exclusively to strengthening public- and private-sector civic infrastructures and collective capacity to disrupt systems and influence market forces while advancing an inclusive economy. Through the Center’s Employer Inclusivity and Inclusive Growth Consulting Services, the Center partners with employers, like Ramsey County, who also seek to increase competitiveness and profitability by centering racial equity, inclusion, and belonging. Click here to learn more.