Promoting Jobs and Equity Through Sector Partnerships

Posted June 11, 2018, By the Annie E. Casey Foundation

When it comes to enhancing workforce diversity, businesses don’t need to go it alone, according to a new study funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

The study and subsequent report, Partnering for Equity, highlight how sector partnerships can help businesses close persistent racial disparities and achieve greater equity in the workplace.

The report, by the Ray Marshall Center at the University of Texas at Austin, stems from a survey of 89 partnerships as well as interviews with local business and community leaders. It outlines seven ways that businesses can use sector partnerships—also called industry-specific partnerships—to advance equity.

These recommendations are:

  1. Expand the use of data disaggregation. Isolate data about racial gaps in employment to better understand specific disparities.
  2. Develop evidence about what works. Use data to help determine what works and what doesn’t when crafting strategies to narrow disparities.
  3. Support board and professional development. Foster a shared understanding of issues and create a safe space for discussing race-based disparities.
  4. Cultivate diverse leaders. Get help developing, recruiting and retaining leaders from affected communities
  5. Define a policy and systems change agenda. Leverage public interest to create pathways to good jobs for people of color.
  6. Philanthropic leadership. Increase financial resources and access to information and experts.
  7. Develop a community of practice. Bring together leading partnerships to share information about promising practices.

“This report shows what industry partnerships can accomplish by working closely with employers and job seekers to draw upon diverse sources of talent to meet the skills businesses need,” says Allison Gerber, a senior associate who manages workforce development investments for the Casey Foundation. “By using these strategies to advance equity, industry partnerships can reduce racial disparities while building and sustaining a more effective workforce.”

To learn more about achieving racial equity in workforce development, tune in to the Partnering for Equity webinar at 3 p.m. EDT on Wednesday, June 20.

Read more on Casey’s investments in sector partnerships

Learn more about workforce development for young people of color

Find out how the Jobs Initiative addressed racial disparities