Advancing Workforce Equity: A Blueprint for Regional Action in Five U.S. Cities

As our nation faces overlapping and interconnected public health, economic, and racial justice crises, it is more important than ever that we redesign workforce strategies for a more resilient and inclusive economy. In partnership with Burning Glass Technologies, the National Fund for Workforce Solutions, and local leaders, and with support from JPMorgan Chase, we released five new reports on the state and future of workforce equity in Boston, Chicago, Dallas, the San Francisco Bay Area, and Seattle.

The reports are part of the Advancing Workforce Equity project. We worked closely with local leaders to analyze tailored data, identify the key drivers of inequity, and prioritize actionable strategies to advance equity through their policy efforts, programs, and investments. This series of reports will serve as the basis for long-term equity-focused efforts.

Our key findings include the following:

  • There are not enough good jobs to go around, and workers of color are overrepresented in low-quality jobs. Across these five regions, only 40-50 percent of workers are in “good jobs.”
  • Racial inequities in income are a drag on regional economic growth. The unrealized GDP ranges from $33 billion in Seattle to $348 billion in the San Francisco Bay Area and will only increase as the workforce diversifies.
  • Occupational segregation, where workers of color are crowded into low-wage jobs, is entrenched and perpetuates inequities.
  • In many regions, Black and Latinx workers with an associate’s degree earn the same or lower median wages as their White counterparts with only a high school diploma.
  • Workers of color face significant, disproportionate risk of job loss as a result of automation.

Informed by our data analysis, local collaboratives developed tailored, ground-up strategies to advance workforce equity in their regions by dismantling barriers to entry and advancement in the labor market, reducing occupational segregation, building worker power, and improving job quality for all.



Read our other publications by research area

    Immigrant Integration & Racial Justice

    Our work on immigrant integration and racial justice brings together three emphases: scholarship that draws on academic theory and rigorous research, data that provides information structured to highlight the process of immigrant integration over time, and engagement that seeks to create new dialogues with government, community organizers, business and civic leaders, immigrants and the voting public to advance immigrant integration and racial equity.

    Economic Inclusion & Climate Equity

    In the area of economic inclusion, we at ERI advance academic theory and practical applications linking economic growth, environmental quality, and civic health with bridging of racial and other gaps; produce accessible and actionable data and analysis through the data tools; and establish research partnerships to deepen and advance the dialogue, planning, and actions around racial equity, environmental justice, and the built environment.

    Social Movements & Governing Power

    ERI’s work in the area of governing power includes: conducting cross-disciplinary studies of today’s social movements, supporting learning and strategizing efforts to advance dialogues among organizers, funders, intermediaries, evaluators, and academics, and developing research-based social change frameworks and tools to inform—and be informed by—real-world, real-time efforts towards a vision of deep change.

    Publications Directory

    In 2020, the USC Program for Environmental and Regional Equity (PERE) and the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration (CSII) merged to form the USC Equity Research Institute (ERI).

    The full list of publications published under our previous and current names can be found in our publications directory.

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