The Critical Role of Data in the Fight for Workforce Equity

You cannot address what is not named. At the National Fund, we are committed to naming and confronting systemic racial inequities that exist within our own organization, non-profit sector, and the broader workforce development system.

Our work is rooted in a vision of an equitable future where workers, employers, and communities are thriving and prosperous. We collaborate with workers, employers, and communities to advance a skilled workforce, promote good jobs and invest in equitable outcomes. To succeed, this work requires tools that support the active dismantling of oppressive structures within our communities that allow racist practices to exist and thrive.

We believe that our ability to address the deeply entrenched racial inequities in workforce systems is only as good as the tools we have available to us. Good and actionable data is a one tool that is critical to our work.

To that end, the National Fund has partnered with PolicyLink and USC Equity Research Institute’s National Equity Atlas to create our Workforce Equity Dashboard. This new tool will allow our network and stakeholders to tell powerful stories with an actionable equity lens.

Data is a great way to name the unnamed, but widely seen, elephant in the room. Data also has the power to tell a phenomenal story that uplifts the gaping inequities in our workforce system that we know exist in a way that can compel us to do and be better by and for the people in our communities.

The aim of the Workforce Equity Dashboard is simple—democratize data. It will make it easier to understand and access the state of equity in our collaborative communities and more specifically, who’s being left behind. It is my sincere hope that the Workforce Equity Dashboard supports courageous conversations within the National Fund, our network and their communities, employers, co-investors and our workforce development colleagues as we collectively work to do better in actualizing bold and impactful strategies and pathways for more equitable workforce ecosystems.

The Workforce Equity Dashboard is a dynamic information campaign designed to:

  • Equip workforce leaders, disruptors, and changemakers with actionable data and resources to advance workforce equity.
  • Understand shifting demographics in their communities.
  • Assess the extent to which diverse worker populations are thriving by looking at education, wages, and unemployment.
  • Support the development of compelling narratives and collective understanding about why and how equity can save communities by looking at who has access to reliable transportation, affordable housing, and income gaps by race/ethnicity.
  • Inform the development of policies, plans, strategies, business models, and investments to advance equitable growth by looking at demographic shifts, job growth, earnings, and GDP with and without equity.

We invite you to explore the Workforce Equity Dashboard. We identify nine key indicators for each of our collaborative communities that are disaggregated by race and ethnicity against the backdrop of our vision of an equitable future. Additionally, each collaborative’s community ranking from the National Equity Atlas’s Race Equity Index is included in this tool. Lastly, we felt it important to share resources as you think about developing equitable strategies. Connect to National Fund tools and resources developed in collaboration with our network that can be used to push the work forward.

As with anything in the fight for equity, this isn’t the end. We will continue to look for ways to make data more accessible and tell the stories of our network communities. Ways that illuminate how much has been done and how much more needs to be done to achieve workforce equity.

Data is most powerful when we have access to and understand key issues, impacted populations, and barriers to progress that maintain and uphold racist inequities. The Workforce Equity Dashboard is a first step to democratizing data to galvanize communities to fight for a more equitable workforce.

Michelle Wilson

-- Director of Evaluation and Learning, National Fund for Workforce Solutions