In order to determine its baseline data and explore ways to reduce racial disparities, the Economic Development & Jobs Workgroup reviewed the Equity & Social Justice Strategic Plan for King County, Washington, a leading community in racial equity. The workgroup also examined data from the 2022 Peoria City/County Racial Disparities Report and met with Peoria City Manager Patrick Urich to discuss past efforts to address community issues. To identify obstacles and determine where gaps can be filled or current efforts accelerated, the workgroup met with 14 community-based organizations, the Regional Workforce Alliance, the Minority Business Development Center, and the City of Peoria. They also researched potential metrics in U.S. Census data that could be used to illustrate equity gaps in the area.
In 2023, the Economic Development and Jobs Workgroup will focus on three areas to develop strategies that can impact racial equity: 1) workforce training that leads to family-sustaining jobs; 2) minority business development; and 3) increasing economic activity in marginalized neighborhoods. A pilot with ICC’s Workforce Equity Initiative is being explored to address transportation barriers that make it hard to get from distressed neighborhoods to job locations. Minority businesses need coaching in business plan development, access to professional expertise in finance and marketing, and startup credit assistance. Solutions to these obstacles will be explored — particularly where they can leverage City infrastructure and safety improvements in marginalized neighborhoods. Racial Equity Impact Assessment methodology will be used to assess the cost and benefits of strategy alternatives.
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Measures of income, poverty and employment are among the most significant indicators of racial inequities in our community. Without a job that pays a living wage, it’s nearly impossible to sustain a household and provide a stable living environment in which children can learn, build intergenerational wealth or save for children’s college education.
The inequitable distribution of resources and economic opportunity across racial lines contributes to disparities in practically every other aspect of life, including, education, employment, housing, mobility, health, and more.