Inclusive Economic Development
We believe in an economic prosperity that is broadly and equitably shared across our community. Economic growth in Durham has traditionally benefited social, economic and political elites, resulting in widening economic inequality. Inclusive economic development seeks to lift up communities that have suffered from generations of disinvestment and racist public policy. A more egalitarian economy allows everyone to benefit from our city’s growth.
Here's what we're proposing for the next four years:
Refocus the economic power of Durham’s city government as an engine of opportunity for those who have traditionally faced barriers to economic participation.
Create an equitable development social impact fund to provide low-cost capital to foster the creation and growth of home-grown Black, Latino, and & women-owned businesses.
Continue our existing partnership with Downtown Durham Inc. and the Durham Chamber of Commerce to support the recruitment of minority and women-owned businesses to downtown Durham.
Working with other local governments, Durham Public Schools, community organizations, and our local business community, continue to expand the Durham YouthWork Summer Internship Program.
Ensure that all economic development resources for local businesses are available in English and Spanish.
Refocus existing city government efforts toward economic inclusion around racial equity within the new Department of Equity and Inclusion. Enhance the city's current strategy for communicating the availability of contracting opportunities to minority and women-owned businesses to include information regarding available educational and technical assistance programs to help such businesses compete and win those contracting opportunities.
Create a system of support within city government for minority and women-owned subcontractors. Hold all city departments accountable for demonstrating progress towards quantifiable goals for utilization of historically underutilized businesses.
Expand the city's already strong relationships with key educational workforce development organizations in the community, such as Durham Public Schools and Durham Tech, to build a training and certification pathway for Durham residents seeking employment in the growing construction, skilled trades, and utility installation fields.
Provide technical support, business planning services, mentoring, and access to capital for Durham-based entrepreneurs so that we harness the potential of our homegrown future business owners.
Expand current pilot program using jobs within city government as transitional employment opportunities for Durham residents looking for work after returning home from jail or prison.
Support current grant-funded program to support Durham residents currently in jail or prison who are 45-60 days away from release with job training to facilitate a smooth transition when they return to Durham.
Target economic incentives to local property owners and developers working in the parts of our city which most need new businesses and new jobs, while continuing to avoid the antiquated "cash for jobs" and "cash for buildings" incentive model typically aimed at corporations outside Durham.
Require applicants for significant City economic incentives to complete an equitable development scorecard which details the benefits to the community that will flow from the city's investment, i.e., local and racially diverse hiring, living wages, partnerships with local historically underutilized businesses, and measures to ensure environmental sustainability.
Provide tailored technical assistance to residents who are interested in starting employee-owned companies, as well as companies interested in moving to cooperative business models and/or employee ownership.
Continue current work with the Shared Equity in Economic Development fellowship program to assist local minority-owned businesses with succession planning via conversion to employee ownership.
Support the new Durham Worker’s Rights Commission’s efforts to establish a Worker’s Bill of Rights and voluntary compliance program to encourage businesses located in Durham to provide good jobs.
Identify and eliminate regulatory barriers to small-scale development here in Durham, especially those that hamper longtime homeowners and small local developers.
Lobby for changes in state law to restore collective bargaining rights for public workers.
Lobby for a $15/hr. minimum wage statewide.