If We’re Serious About an Equitable Economy, It’s All Hands on Deck

This month I write to you (finally) on the other side of a national election. However you feel about the outcome, our challenges weren’t going to end with one election. We have a long road ahead of us. The cracks in our economy run deep and the issues touch multiple, complex systems. It’s all hands on deck as we redesign a more resilient and equitable economy. Yes, elected officials have a role to play, but we need business leaders and community organizations and educational institutions and philanthropic partners—and yes, we need frontline workers to offer their critical perspective and help design solutions that work for them.

For the past couple of weeks, I have been digging into our newest report, Race and the Work of the Future. This report leverages deeply disaggregated national data and illuminates many of these systemic problems. The report debunks the idea that a focus on skills is enough to address racial inequities in access to good jobs. Against the backdrop of an alarming rise in coronavirus cases, we also face a plague of unsafe, low-quality, low-paying jobs. There are too few good jobs to go around, and persistent racial gaps in who gets access to the shrinking number of good jobs that do exist.

These are problems that can’t be fixed by a single election and won’t all be solved in Washington, D.C. These are problems that also demand local leadership and action. Coming in January, we will expand the work of the Race and the Work of the Future by featuring reports in five of our partner communities, who are each developing concrete strategies to advance workforce equity in their communities.  We are excited to share their work with you.

I know Thanksgiving was different this year, but I hope everyone had a safe and peaceful holiday.

Amanda Cage

-- President and CEO, National Fund for Workforce Solutions