Diverse Coalition of Advocates, Educators and Community Leaders Map Out Blueprint for Fairer, Equitable Economic Growth

The NYC Inclusive Growth Initiative Blueprint outlines recommendations and priorities centered on economic development, workforce development, and affordable housing

Read the Full NYC Inclusive Growth Initiative’s Blueprint

Read the NYC Inclusive Growth Initiative’s Blueprint Executive Summary

NEW YORK, NY – (August 11, 2021) — Today, a diverse group of emerging New York City leaders committed to representing historically disadvantaged communities released a blueprint for Inclusive Growth, challenging city leaders to rethink how to approach economic success.

The Steering Committee for the NYC Inclusive Growth Initiative (IGI) released its agenda containing a set of recommendations on economic development, workforce development, and affordable housing for a visionary model for equitable development in NYC. The Inclusive Growth Blueprint is a first-of-its-kind agenda for the next Mayor and the incoming City Council to change the way development is done — to prioritize infrastructure and development projects that proactively address long-standing disparities and meet the material needs of New Yorkers, especially the communities that are usually left out of the decision-making process. The group argues that only such an inclusive approach centered around the needs and ideas of people of color, immigrants, and New Yorkers who drive our workforce and sustain our communities will allow for equitable and sustainable growth.

“We have a rare window of opportunity to undo decades of flawed decisions and unintended consequences, starting by recognizing that a genuinely inclusive workforce development system sees people as the source of our economic prosperity and growth,” said Jose Ortiz, Jr., CEO of the New York City Employment and Training Coalition. “There are always New Yorkers left behind during recovery, and all too often they are people of color, immigrants, and other historically underserved groups. By embracing the Blueprint’s Inclusive Growth mindset, we can finally tear down barriers to individual and communal success and build a truly fairer, better city.”

“An equitable recovery centered on opportunity for those impacted by decades of systemic disinvestment and racism requires a fundamental shift in how our government and industry leaders make policy decisions and design systems. It requires an Inclusive Growth approach,” said Barika X. Williams, Executive Director of the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development. “This Blueprint, developed by a diverse group of talented and passionate leaders, is an important roadmap toward breaking down structural inequality and building a truly equitable future for our city.”

“Racial segregation, housing scarcity, income inequality and financial hardship remain pervasive and have intensified during COVID, threatening all of New York’s future growth and potential,” said Tom Wright, President and CEO of Regional Plan Association. “We were pleased to participate in this process and document the ideas and perspective of this incredible group of New Yorkers. Like RPA, they are committing to charting a more equitable course for the future. We look forward to continuing this critical discussion.”

Announced in November 2020, the IGI was founded by the New York City Employment and Training Coalition (NYCETC), the Association for Neighborhood & Housing Development (ANHD) and Regional Plan Association (RPA). The Initiative’s Steering Committee was announced in February 2021, with members meeting multiple times through July 2021 to craft the Blueprint, envisioning the three core pillars to represent values and narratives of inclusive growth. The recommendations in this report are a product of the Steering Committee, with NYCETC, ANHD and RPA supporting and facilitating the process. 

An Inclusive Growth approach would ensure that all New Yorkers have access to quality careers and livelihoods, affordable housing, and economic opportunity. To do so incisively requires transparent and community-led development and planning driven by the assets, aspirations, needs, priorities, and interests of marginalized communities — especially those historically excluded from realizing the benefits of economic growth. 

Among the 50+ recommendations within the IGI Blueprint to achieve those goals are:

  • Dedicating resources and professional support toward community engagement and leadership for neighborhood, community and city-wide planning and development,
  • Prioritizing investments in real estate and physical infrastructure that are also investments in social infrastructure, including parks, libraries, transit and more,
  • Shifting government approach around workforce development policies and systems to being seen as a fully integrated part of the city’s overall economic development, as opposed to the current view as a poverty reduction strategy,
  • Creating a housing plan focused more on outcomes than outputs, and targeting subsidies and tax incentives toward development projects that meet the deepest needs of households within that plan, and more.

Read the Full NYC Inclusive Growth Initiative’s Blueprint.

“New Yorkers deserve to have good-paying jobs, affordable homes, and equitable economic development in their neighborhoods,” said Maria Torres-Springer, Vice President of U.S. Programs at Ford Foundation. “The Inclusive Growth Initiative’s Blueprint lays out a bold vision for a fairer, stronger New York City that tackles the systemic inequities so we can truly be a city of opportunity for all.”

“Both privilege and deprivation affect New Yorkers across the course of their lives. Poverty creates barriers to education, which in turn traps the next generation in a cycle of low-wage work. Poor New Yorkers are also less likely to eat well and to have access to healthful recreation, making it more likely that they will suffer from more ailments at older ages,” said Christian González-Rivera, Director of Strategic Policy Initiatives at the Brookdale Center for Healthy Aging and IGI Steering Committee member. “Breaking these cumulative disadvantages that trap people in poverty will require taking an inclusive growth approach to ensuring that New Yorkers of all ages and from all walks of life can thrive.”

“This Blueprint is aimed at inspiring new possibilities that build stronger and more sustainable communities, while identifying the levers of change that should be implemented to create pathways to shared and inclusive economic growth for underserved populations and communities,” said Yahshaanyah Hill, Senior Vice President, Workforce Opportunity Investments, Upper Manhattan Empowerment Zone (UMEZ) and IGI Steering Committee Member

“Transportation can serve as a bridge to opportunity – or as a barrier. Oftentimes, it all depends on which neighborhood you live in and whether your community reaped the benefits of past infrastructure investments like better transit options or only bore the negative impacts of things like urban highways,” said Mike Flynn, Principal and National Director of Transportation Planning at Sam Schwartz Consulting and IGI Steering Committee member. “Inclusive growth requires focusing transportation investments on those who are most in need of improved access and closely coordinating infrastructure with housing and economic development, in order to have the greatest impact. I’m proud of the work of the IGI Steering Committee and am excited to see the Blueprint’s recommendations move forward with urgency in the coming years.”

“As a Native New Yorker, public housing resident, and climate activist, I am glad to work amongst the other Steering Committee members to elevate decades of community concerns and collectively develop the Inclusive Growth framework,” said Daphany Rose Sanchez, Executive Director at Kinetic Communities Consulting and IGI Steering Committee Member. “To me, this framework is a first step towards reframing our city. It is an opportunity to develop and sustain equitable, restorative, and sustainable pathways forward for BIPOC, immigrant, and low-income communities who are often ignored and disinvested in.”

“As a Black Veteran, an advocate for individuals with disabilities, a workforce development professional and a lifelong New Yorker, the invitation to work with the NYC Inclusive Growth Steering Committee represented to me the possibility of a new day for New York City,” said Carl Callender, Veterans Coordinator at the Institute for Career Development and IGI Steering Committee Member. “The Inclusive Growth Blueprint we have prepared for our next Mayor is a visionary pathway to greater economic mobility and a more ethical, inclusive and diverse workforce for all.”

NYCETC, ANHD, and RPA supported IGI’s Steering Committee by producing original research, providing leadership and facilitation, lending policy and issue expertise, and utilizing relevant connections to give the cohort access to government and civic organizations. The NYC Inclusive Growth Initiative is funded by the Ford Foundation, JPMorgan Chase & Co., PNC Foundation and Robin Hood Foundation.For more information on the NYC Inclusive Growth Initiative, please visit www.inclusivegrowth.nyc.