Economic Inclusion is Key to Regional Economic Growth
Our region is often recognized by others because of the infrastructure and relationships we have built to improve inclusion. Now it's time to determine how we can use our strengths to both fuel equity and drive economic growth.
As the Fund for Our Economic Future's "The Two Tomorrows" report illustrates, our region's economy will never thrive and outperform our past if we don't close the gaps in employment, income and wealth between whites and people of color. This isn't just a local challenge. The W.K. Kellogg Foundation estimates the United States could add $8 trillion to gross domestic product by 2050 if these inequities were eliminated. The city of Buffalo projects that "closing the racial equity gap in income and wealth would mean an additional $12 billion in wealth for area families." Cleveland can use its strengths to lead the nation in solving this longstanding crisis.
Doing so is a key component of the Greater Cleveland Partnership's recent strategic plan and has been a focus of GCP's Commission on Economic Inclusion since it was founded in 2001. The commission engages employers to increase board, senior management, workforce and supplier diversity and tracks performance via an annual assessment of nearly 100 of our largest organizations. Despite these efforts and progress, we — like the rest of the nation — have failed to close the racial economic gap. We and our partners are poised to seek new and innovative solutions.
Read more about the Commission’s work in this op-ed by our Director, Brian Hall, in Crain’s Cleveland.