Advancing Workforce Equity: A Guide for Stakeholders

What Is Workforce Equity?

In an equitable workforce, all jobs are good jobs. Workforce equity means the elimination of racial gaps in employment and income such that the workforce – both public and private – is racially representative of the general population, at all different levels of skill and pay, across occupational groups and sectors.

In a workforce that’s growing more diverse, workers of color continue to face barriers to good jobs and career pathways. Eliminating racial inequities is necessary for individual workers to succeed and for the economic growth and prosperity of communities.

Increasingly, cities across the United States recognize the need to embrace an equity-focused approach. But because these are complex problems involving multiple systems, cities often lack a clear strategy to move forward.

The National Fund, in partnership with PolicyLink, led five U.S. cities through a process to build data-informed workforce equity strategies. The initial results of that process are captured in five reports, Advancing Workforce Equity: Blueprints for Regional Action.

We learned a lot from this process and wanted to share it broadly. This guide is broad in its scope. Every community is different, every equity workgroup is different. There is no one way to do this work, but we have tried to capture the most important elements here.


The development of this guide was made possible with support from JPMorgan Chase & Co.

What’s in the guide

This guide lays out a process for engaging community stakeholders to identify action-oriented strategies to address complex workforce equity problems. The process outlined here is designed to be iterative and flexible. More importantly, the process is built on a foundation of co-creation that gives ownership of the solutions to multiple stakeholders.

The process outlined in this guide is built on three pillars: (1) Accessible quality data, made available to (2) workforce equity workgroups to design (3) data-driven strategies.

Who should use it

This guide is for workforce intermediaries, workforce funder collaboratives, civic and community leaders, local policymakers, and anyone who has a stake in building a more equitable workforce and community.

How the guide is organized

This guide is broken down into five phases:

  1. Planning
  2. Forming and Engaging the Equity Workgroup
  3. Data Collection
  4. Strategy Development
  5. Turning Strategy into Action

Within each phase, the guide offers a description, things to consider, key decisions to make, and action to take. Links to tools to aid the work are embedded throughout the guide.

Ready to get started?


Go to Phase 1 ➪