For Philadelphia, workforce diversity has always been an economic imperative. As the impending economic crisis in the wake of COVID-19 looms in front of us, so much is unknown. But even amidst uncertainty and fear, familiar patterns emerge. Inequity, disparity and racism are not new, just more clear under the harsh light this crisis shines upon them.
Philadelphia’s economic recovery must implement proactive strategies that connect all communities to opportunity. This means supporting workers – ensuring that race, neighborhood, or country of origin no longer determine the accessibility of these opportunities for many Philadelphians.
Let’s get specific. The case has been made for diversity as a competitive advantage. Businesses who have a more diverse workforce see greater returns, have better connections to customers, and grow market share at faster rates. But how many firms have race-explicit strategies for workforce equity? How many have moved past diversity strategies as a social good, legal, or peer benchmarking act and see that equity is prioritized and realized?