Economic inclusion for growth: look to the cities
“Preparing a broader and more diverse set of firms, workers, and communities to reach their productive potential offers a compelling opportunity for growth. Metropolitan America should seize it.” That’s the conclusion of a comprehensive new report released by the Metropolitan Policy Program at Brookings.
The results are summarized in an article the institute published yesterday titled “Opportunity for growth: How reducing barriers to economic inclusion can benefit workers, firms, and local economies.”
Diversity. Inclusion. When it comes to urban policy, these are not warm and fuzzy catchphrases bandied from ivory towers. Growth initiatives, if they are to be truly effective, cannot remain separate from inclusion initiatives (contrary to the habit many cities have cultivated, intentionally or haplessly).
Brookings lays out these key findings:
– The economy is not working for all people and places, and cities and regions are a critical
scale at which to address the challenge.
– Reducing barriers to economic opportunity in U.S. metro areas can enhance economic
– Growth is necessary to make regional economies more inclusive.
– Growth actors – employers and the economic development organizations (EDOs) that
represent them – have an important role to play in joining inclusion actors – community
development, workforce development, and social justice organizations) – to reduce the
barriers that prevent firms, workers, and communities from meeting their productive
There is a lot to digest here. A major takeaway, though, is that when we set the stage for educational success, entrepreneurism and upward mobility, growth accelerates in a manner that allows more stakeholders to benefit. “Cities and regions are a critical scale at which to address the challenge,” Brookings asserts. Shouldn’t we start there?