Policy & Strategies

Policy Agenda

Setting America on a course of equitable growth will require major shifts in public policy, innovative economic and workforce development strategies, and new private sector business models. We work to advance policy ideas and solutions, share equitable growth examples and strategies with advocates and changemakers, and build new effective models of inclusive economic growth.

To build an equitable economy, policymakers and advocates need to set up a policy framework that promotes equitable growth: growing new good jobs while ensuring that all—including low-income people and people of color—can fully participate in generating that growth and fully share in its benefits. We promote the following broad policy priorities:

  • GROW GOOD JOBS by maximizing the equity and growth returns from public spending and investment, raising the floor on low-wage work, and expanding business development opportunities for people of color.
  • BUILD HUMAN CAPABILITIES by upgrading the education and skills of our diverse workforce, ensuring all children can reach their full potential in the global economy, and improving individual and community health.
  • ERASE BARRIERS AND EXPAND OPPORTUNITIES by dismantling racial barriers to economic inclusion and civic participation, building pipelines to good jobs, and implementing place-based strategies to create communities of opportunity throughout regions.

These priorities and federal policy recommendations are described in our report, Equity and the Future of the American Economy: A Policy Agenda to Build an Equitable Economy.

All-In Nation: An America that Works for All, a book produced in partnership with the Center for American Progress, presents the economic case for racial inclusion and outlines a policy blueprint to create an economy that works for everyone. It includes policy recommendations in seven areas: Jobs and Economic Security, Infrastructure, Education and Workforce, Healthy Communities, Criminal Justice, Immigration, and Democratic Participation.

Strategies & Local Engagements

Inclusive growth practices and policies are at the heart of building an equitable economy. We promote equitable growth strategies including:

  • Maximizing the equity and growth returns from public spending and investment
  • Connecting underserved workers to high-opportunity, high-growth sectors
  • Leveraging the economic power of anchor institutions for community economic development
  • Starting and expanding local- and minority-owned businesses
  • Improving job quality and wages in the low-wage sector
  • Building equity into regional economic development strategies

In our reports and newsletter, we highlight real-life examples of how communities are carrying out these strategies and generating greater economic prosperity for all. We also work with local partners to design and implement inclusive economic development and workforce strategies.

  • In Detroit, Michigan, we are helping the New Economy Initiative, a $130 million, 10-year collaboration of 10 local and national foundations, create a more diverse economy by providing technical assistance and capital for entrepreneurs and small businesses, with a focus on low-income neighborhoods and communities of color in Detroit and Southeast Michigan.
  • In Baltimore, Maryland, we are assessing the workforce development and economic inclusion efforts of the East Baltimore Revitalization Initiative, a $1.8 billion effort to create biotechnology research space mixed-income housing, new parks and other amenities in a long-disinvested neighborhood where residents have experienced high barriers to accessing jobs and opportunities and is located next to the Johns Hopkins medical campus.
  • In Oakland, California, we are guiding local partners on strategies to maximize small business lending tools to drive local equitable economic growth and neighborhood revitalization. We also worked with the Oakland Sustainable Neighborhoods Initiative on strategies for small businesses impacted by new transit investments along commercial corridors.
  • Reports & Publications

  • Equitable Development: The Path to an All-In Pittsburgh
    September 2016

    Pittsburgh is on the rise. After decades of decline following the collapse of the steel industry, the region has successfully transformed its manufacturing economy into one driven by knowledge and technology. This resurgence brings great potential to deliver long-awaited jobs, economic opportunities, and neighborhood improvements to the region’s low-income communities and communities of color. However, the benefits of new growth and development will not automatically trickle down without a focus on equitable development. Produced by PolicyLink, along with Neighborhood Allies, and Urban Innovation21, this report presents a five-point agenda for realizing the vision of a new, “all-in” Pittsburgh, in which everyone can thrive, and highlights 16 specific recommendations for action. Read the summary and the full profile.

  • All-In Cities

    All-In Cities is a new PolicyLink initiative to empower city officials, community advocates, and other civic leaders with the policy ideas, data, and hands-on assistance they need to advance racial economic inclusion and equitable growth. Read the framing paper and sign up for email updates about the initiative at www.allincities.org

  • All-In Nation: An America that Works for All

    Produced in partnership with the Center for American Progress, this book describes how strong communities of color are critical to America’s economic future and lays out a comprehensive policy agenda to build an equitable economy. It includes essays by thought leaders and seven policy chapters including jobs, infrastructure, education/workforce, and healthy communities. Download the entire book or individual chapters at www.allinnation.org or view videos from the release events in Washington, D.C., Oakland, and New York City.

  • Building an All-In Nation: A View from the American Public

    The Center for American Progress and PolicyLink commissioned a nationwide, multilingual poll to examine how Americans view rising diversity, inequality, and the policy recommendations outlined in All-In Nation. The results show that Americans are much more open to diversity and supportive of steps to reduce racial inequalities between racial and ethnic groups than is commonly portrayed in politics and the media. Download the report and watch Soledad O’Brien’s interview with the poll analysts.

  • Economic Inclusion: Advancing an Equity-Driven Growth Model

    This paper presents a framework for infusing economic inclusion into large-scale economic development and job creation efforts and highlights Cleveland’s Evergreen Cooperatives, Pittsburgh’s Central Keystone Innovation Zone, St. Paul’s Neighborhood Development Center, and other examples. It was a part of the Big Ideas for Job Creation series of the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment at the University of California, Berkeley. Download the report and summary