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Achieving Black Economic Equity

June 15, 2022

At a Glance

Eliminating the economic barriers facing Black Americans will require bold, race-conscious solutions that touch every facet of U.S. society.

Michael Collins Vice President
Practices & Centers

Our Action Plan

Eliminating the economic barriers facing Black Americans will require bold, race-conscious solutions.

In this framework, we focus closely on the persistent challenges that many Black Americans experience throughout their education and working lives, starting as young teenagers first exploring job opportunities and continuing as adults seeking careers that can propel them to the middle class. Through research, analysis, interviews with Black learners and workers, and guidance from our advisory council of Black leaders, we have developed recommendations to promote the economic advancement of Black Americans today and in the ever-changing economy of the future.

About this Call to Action

Black Americans today face a harsh economic reality—most are born at a disadvantage in the pursuit of economic equity and face nearly impossible odds to catch up. The structural racism that was created hundreds of years ago to reserve economic success for white people still permeates U.S. society and perpetuates deep and unacceptable inequities.

At JFF, as part of our mission to drive economic advancement for all, we have redoubled our commitment to achieving racial economic equity, with a particular focus on Black learners and workers. No longer can we settle for incremental change that fails to ease the systemic injustice that has persisted for generations.

We seek to create a society where race is no longer a determinant of educational and economic outcomes. And we call on the entire learn-and-work ecosystem—as well as new partners from other sectors—to join with us and push toward equity for Black Americans.

We don’t claim to have all the answers. Rather, we hope to amplify the work of others who have come before us, identify new partners to help us expand our reach, and clarify what organizations interested in promoting racial economic equity can do to move closer to their goal of furthering investment, collaboration, and advocacy to create permanent space for Black learners and workers in our society and our economy. We are excited to continue learning about the ways we all can join together to make the greatest impact, and our recommendations will evolve as we refine our thinking.

Let’s Get Started

As noted in this report, education and training alone cannot eliminate the wealth gap; the country’s history of systemic racism has created inequities in housing and other wealth-building assets that cannot be addressed through income and opportunity alone. Our research and conversations, including guidance from our advisory council, elevated the approaches documented here as the highest-leverage opportunities to offset this deficit and create new opportunities for racial economic advancement in the future of work.

The challenges of the past two years have made clear the need to reimagine the future of work, and rethink our collective understanding of Black opportunity in America.

We look forward to pursuing efforts to further define, promote, and implement these strategies. We welcome your feedback and partnership as we take these efforts forward.

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