Oftentimes optics are the first metric organizations use to measure how well they are addressing equity and inclusion. While that is an important metric, it should not be our only focus.
At Impact Hub Austin it is our desire to not isolate the issue of equity and inclusion as a separate challenge. Issues of inclusion and equity are most thoughtfully and strategically addressed in context. For example, “How does affordability in housing and transit affect communities of color uniquely?” This question forces us to look at historical and systemic variables that continue to create obstacles. Affordability, with a focus on housing and transit, along with workforce development are the two issues Impact Hub has convened our social impact accelerator around and by using diversity and inclusion as a lens, we unite ventures to address systemic issues in a more dynamic way.
“The competitor is not the person sitting across from you,” Managing Director, Ashley Phillips said in the Affordability Accelerator Launch Party, “the competition is affordability in Austin, and together we can beat it.”
Research shows that lack of opportunity for people of color is caused by various systemic inequities. We are able to identify the systems that enforce that lack of opportunity and address them in a dynamic way. Thus, creating opportunity for all Austinites.
For example, in our latest Workforce Development Accelerator, ventures formed partnerships to create dynamic solutions to an inefficient workforce pipeline in Austin.
According to Austin’s Mayor, there are 400,000 high-skilled jobs up for grabs in Austin and 300,000 unemployed or underemployed people who could fill those jobs. Yet those 300,000 lack the skills needed to fill the positions. Through uniting ventures like #WI and KeyUp – systemic issues can be tackled dynamically by closing the workforce pipeline gap and introducing new talent with diverse backgrounds to new opportunities.
It’s important to note that racial inequity is its own issue in Austin. The city has created a Task Force on Institutional Racism & Systemic Inequities to address the growing challenge. Impact Hub believes in creating a more equitable and inclusive Austin, but we also believe these challenges are intersectional and must be addressed in tandem with growing affordability and workforce development challenges.