Since the Greater Washington Partnership was formed in 2017, the largest employers from Baltimore to Richmond have been dedicated to ensuring that the Capital Region, the nation’s third-largest economy, becomes the most compelling place to live, work and grow a business.
Last week, we were very proud to announce the next step in that journey. Our new Inclusive Growth Strategy Council, chaired by Salamander Hotels and Resorts’ Sheila Johnson and the Washington Football Team’s Jason Wright, will oversee the development of a 10-year blueprint for inclusive growth for the region and a dashboard to hold all of us accountable to clear metrics. This work will accelerate GWP’s overarching commitment to catalyzing solutions to scale that make our region the most equitable and inclusive economy in the country.
This important initiative comes on the heels of two substantial recent commitments from our Board of Directors and other partners:
- Contributions totaling $500,000 to specifically turbocharge the inclusive growth work at the Partnership
- A multi-million dollar scholarship for diverse students who earn a digital tech credential in the coming years
Making our region the most inclusive and thus the strongest economy in the nation is hard, long-term work that takes the full community. This is the tactic we’ve taken on regional issues since our start. Our work in regional mobility began with the development of a long-term transportation blueprint that involved constituents from across sectors. Our skills and talent work depended on an analysis of the digital talent gap for the region (estimated at 60,000+ by 2025) and has succeeded by convening employers with educators to develop new pathways to close that gap. The transportation work has, directly and indirectly, unlocked $1 billion in funding for the region’s infrastructure. The skills and talent work will ensure that 45,000 people from the region are digitally certified, half of whom will come from traditionally underrepresented populations for STEM fields.
Data-driven analytical integrity and a broad and deep effort to engage communities of interest will be the foundation for our inclusive growth work, too. We’re delighted that McKinsey has committed a national team to quickly address gaps in the region for small, Black-owned businesses and that Deloitte is committing a team to work in the coming months on the inclusive growth blueprint. EY continues to be a critical partner in our mobility and back-to-work efforts and is committed to assist in our efforts focused on shared prosperity, too.
The understanding that inclusive growth is the defining economic opportunity for the Capital Region stems from all the work each of the GWP Partner organizations has been doing at an accelerated pace for the last 12 months, as the racial wealth gap has grown through the pandemic. Here’s a very partial list:
- McKinsey’s analysis suggests that closing the racial wealth gap will unlock $1.5 trillion by 2028 for the country – translating to $30-50 billion for our region.
- Amazon’s video for its employees on HQ2 highlights their ‘new way’ of working with the community centering on inclusion and equality as innovation accelerators.
- JPMorgan Chase made notable commitments, including a $350 million fund to support Black, LatinX, women, and other underserved-owned businesses. Jaime Dimon’s most recent letter to shareholders calls out wealth inequality as a defining issue to finally address in America.
- Clark Construction’s Strategic Partnership Program and John Hopkins University have committed to quickly diversifying – and mentoring – supply chains.
- Dominion Energy didn’t delay – it launched a $25 million HBCU Promise program in weeks following the murder of George Floyd last summer.
- Monumental Sports was an early mover on social justice last year, and founder (and GWP co-founder and Vice Chair) Ted Leonsis has been at the forefront of GWP’s emphasis on inclusive growth in his role as Vice Chair and co-founder of the Partnership, and member of the Inclusive Growth Committee of the Board.
- T. Rowe Price made $2 million in grants to fight for racial justice.
- And, GWP Partners have adopted substantive initiatives to further equity in their own workplaces, including programs like org (Deloitte, Northrop Grumman), MLT’s Black Equity at Work (Deloitte and Amazon), and McKinsey’s Black Executive Leadership Program.
The Capital Region’s major employers are doing the work and understand that the path to inclusive growth is through urgent attention to inclusive recovery.
A recent BCG survey found that 51% of job seekers wouldn’t consider an offer from a company that doesn’t share their beliefs on diversity and inclusion. A staggering (but not surprising) 70% said environmental responsibility matters more to them now than a year ago.
Inclusion is the new innovation, and sustainability is the next great frontier for opportunity. Our collective work to ensure that the Capital Region is the most inclusive, equitable, and sustainable region will ultimately make it the fastest, most innovative economy in the country. We invite you to join us in this work. To learn more about our Inclusive Growth activities and get involved in the Council or other opportunities, please contact Francesca Ioffreda, VP for Inclusive Growth [email protected].