Enhancing workforce diversity is not a job for business alone, a report from the Ray Marshall Center at the University of Texas, Austin argues.
Funded by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the report, Partnering for Equity (11 pages, PDF) highlights ways in which sector partnerships — regional coalitions of employers and their partners working to develop and implement solutions to workforce challenges — can help businesses close persistent racial disparities and achieve greater equity in the workplace.
Based on a survey of eighty-nine partnerships and interviews with local business and community leaders, the report outlines seven ways that businesses can use sector partnerships to advance equity, including expanding the use of data disaggregation; developing evidence about what works and what doesn't when crafting strategies to narrow disparities; supporting board and professional development and creating safe spaces for discussing race-based disparities; cultivating diverse leaders from underrepresented communities; defining a systems-change agenda and policies that create pathways to good jobs for people of color; increasing philanthropic resources and access to information and experts; and developing a community of practice to share information and lessons learned.
"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," said Allison Gerber, a senior associate at the Casey Foundation who manages the foundation's workforce development investments. "By using these strategies to advance equity, industry partnerships can reduce racial disparities while building and sustaining a more effective workforce."