The United States is experiencing a rapid and profound transition from an industrial economy to a digital, global, and knowledge-based and service-based economy. Like much of America, our city and region has struggled with this economic transition. The Two Tomorrows, a recent report from the Fund for Our Economic Future, challenges us to imagine a Northeast Ohio that “embraces strategies in job creation, job preparation and job access to fully realize its potential, achieve economic growth, and increase access to opportunity for all people.”

The racial wealth gap is one of the more pressing economic issues facing cities across the country. Because of a history slavery and oppression, discrimination, and Jim Crow laws, most African-Americans were not afforded the opportunities to build wealth – and pass it down to the next generation – at the rate of their white counterparts. This history, coupled with the rising income disparities of today, means many people of color are still struggling to realize the American Dream.

In many cities, including Cleveland, economic development professionals are working with anchor institutions, foundations, and community organizations to develop workforce development and entrepreneurship programs and ownership models to reverse this troubling trend – and to create jobs that also offer opportunities to build community wealth.

Join us for a special free experience in our workforce development series as we tour some of these innovative spaces followed by a discussion with local leaders dedicated to building wealth in minority communities.


  • Michael Jeans
    President and CEO, Growth Opportunity Partners, Inc.
  • John McMicken
    CEO, Evergreen Cooperatives
  • Khrystalynn Shefton, PMP
    Director of Real Estate Development, Famicos Foundation


  • Darrielle Snipes
    ideastream® reporter/producer
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