Sep 30, 2020
Tracye McDaniel and Jaclyn Le with TIP Strategies join Dennis
for a thought-provoking discussion on equity and inclusion in this
economic environment. See below for expanded show notes.
Connect with Tracye
Connect with Jaclyn Le
- In today’s rapidly changing demographic, social, and economic
environment, the need for equity and inclusion in economic
development programs is particularly urgent.
- COVID-19, the current economic crisis, and national uprisings
have altered life in every community and called greater attention
towards racial and economic justice.
- If the economic development field does not take a more
proactive approach to addressing racial inequity, then we run the
risk of failing to meet our goals of improving our communities and
fostering economic vitality.
- Traditional approaches to economic development have not
benefited all populations — and, in many cases, the policies and
programs have neglected or even shortchanged people of color,
immigrants and low-income communities.
- Equity – Providing fair access to resources
and opportunity while eliminating systemic barriers that prevent
full economic participation.
- Inclusion – Creating an economy in which every
individual and group is valued and able to fully contribute to your
community’s economic vitality.
- Under-resourced communities – communities that
have been historically marginalized and excluded from economic
opportunity because of their race or class. Specifically, this
includes communities of color and low-income residents. While there
is some overlap between these two groups, it is important to
recognize that they are not synonymous with each other.
How has COVID-19 exacerbated
- Inequality and exclusion existed in our communities before
covid-19, but the emergence of this virus and the subsequent
economic crisis have exacerbated existing disparities, especially
among under-resourced populations.
- The impacts of coronavirus create a negative feedback loop that
makes inequality even worse.
- Lower incomes è chronic health conditions è increased
vulnerability to COVID-19
- More often impacted by loss of income and healthcare due to
quarantines and business closures
- More likely to be employed in essential worker jobs which
increase potential exposure to the virus
- Contribute to the widening socio-economic divide.
- TIP has developed an occupational risk tool that measures
job-related risk during the COVID-19 crisis on 2 dimensions: risk
to personal health and risk to personal earnings
- 40% of workers in the US are in jobs with a high risk to
earnings and a high risk to personal health
- Across all the major metro regions, Black, Latinx, and younger
workers face a disproportionate level of risk
- Furthermore, 83% of workers facing the greatest risk earn less
- What this shows us is how fragile and tenuous are economy was
pre-covid for Black and Latinx communities – Covid didn’t create
this inequality. It has always been there, but now it’s exposed
more now than ever.
- A version of the tool is available on our website—so you can go
online and explore the data for the large metro regions in the
How have national uprisings and
racial justice movement affected economic development?
- National uprisings in the wake of the deaths of George Floyd,
Breonna Taylor, and others has broadened awareness about racial
injustice across numerous social and economic issues
- There’s a tendency for economic development to see the
uprisings and racial justice movement as a social issue that may
not be related to our work.
- That’s fundamentally not true. Systemic racism is also an
economic issue. It directly relates to economic development.
- We need to explicitly address racial equity in our work. For
too long, Black and Latinx residents have been locked out of
opportunity – everything from education to jobs and more.
- Prior to Covid, we were in a period of extensive growth and
prosperity. Economic developers played a part in that growth, but
the rising tide didn’t lift all boats. Communities of color, in
particular, did not experience the benefits that others did.
- There’s a tendency to want to “stay in our lane,” but if we
don’t address racial inequity, then many people in our communities
will not be able to benefit from the economic opportunities we are
working to create. This will also reduce our communities’
competitiveness, especially as public expectations shift, and the
private sector is also held accountable.