New research highlights racial inequities in the Boston area workforce and makes actionable recommendations for equitable economic recovery

A broad racial equity agenda for the region’s workforce is a cornerstone of the city’s future economy

BOSTON, Jan. 26, 2021 /PRNewswire/ — A new report shows that in the Boston metropolitan region, people of color are overrepresented in the essential jobs that are disproportionately impacted by the ongoing pandemic. The report uses data to identify workforce equity strategies that should be implemented to foster broad economic prosperity.

Advancing Workforce Equity in Boston: A Blueprint for Actionreleased today by the National Equity Atlas (a partnership between PolicyLink and the USC Equity Research Institute) with the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, SkillWorks, Burning Glass Technologies, and JPMorgan Chase, highlights stark realities for workers in the Boston metropolitan region. 

People of color – especially Black and Latinx residents – face systemic and structural barriers to opportunity, and this impact is widespread. According to the data, White workers in Greater Boston with less than a high school diploma earn about the same as workers of color with an associate degree. In fact, deeply entrenched racial inequity cost the region $44 billion in unrealized GDP in 2018 alone. Disparities in the system are felt by the whole region, but workers of color are bearing most of the burden.

“Across our national network of employers, workforce development boards, training providers, and community partners, the situation mirrors what this data reveals: Racial inequities are entrenched in all aspects of the workforce system,” said Amanda Cage, president and CEO of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. “To ensure the system works for everyone, we need to start fixing these issues now.”

Key recommendations to build a thriving and inclusive economy include the following:

  • Leverage the real estate development boom and industry growth to increase union participation and expand apprenticeship and secure public financing for social programs that support workers of color.
  • Encourage public policy solutions that result in more good jobs and work across systems to expand investments in childcare, housing, and transportation — all with racial equity at the center.
  • Encourage educational institutions and employers to transition to skills-based hiring.
  • Invest in robust data collection and reporting systems to uncover inequities, track progress, and drive change.

“No single solution can reverse the decades of systemic inequity built into our local economy – and made more evident during the pandemic,” said Andre Green, executive director of SkillWorks at the Boston Foundation, the local partner of the National Fund for Workforce Solutions. “It will take a multi-pronged approach that includes policymakers, employers, workforce training programs, and most importantly, workers themselves to better understand and improve job quality and equity.”

As workers across Greater Boston, especially in Black and Latinx communities, continue to face barriers to good jobs, it’s critical to work across sectors to address these inequities,” said Abby Marquand, vice president of global philanthropy at JPMorgan Chase. “With data-driven insights and collaboration, and as part of JPMorgan Chase’s commitment to advancing racial equity and preparing people for the future of work, we can begin to drive a clear path forward to a more inclusive economy.”

The report, data and analysis can be found at https://nationalequityatlas.org/research/workforce-equity-boston.

Advancing Workforce Equity in Boston: A Blueprint for Action was developed through a partnership of the National Fund for Workforce SolutionsSkillWorks: Partners for a Productive WorkforcePolicyLinkUSC Equity Research Institute, and Burning Glass Technologies, with support from JPMorgan Chase.

SOURCE The National Fund for Workforce Solutions

Author: SkillWorks

SkillWorks is a nationally recognized workforce funder collaborative, launched by the Boston Foundation in 2003 to improve workforce development in Boston and across Massachusetts. SkillWorks brings together philanthropy, government, community organizations and employers to address the twin goals of: 1) Helping low-skill, low-income individuals attain family-supporting jobs; and 2) Helping employers find and retain skilled employees.

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