Buffalo’s Great Opportunity: Building Diversity in the Workforce

Buffalo’s renaissance is here and real.   The opportunity for us to thrive as a region of tomorrow depends upon our ability to create equity.

The Community Foundation has led and staffed the Racial Equity Roundtable, a group of committed people looking to change the unfortunate economic reality of too many people of color in our community. Meet them in this video.

Why is this important to business? Richard Florida in his book “Rise of the Creative Class,” attempts to explain the underlying forces that have been transforming our economy and culture.  He urges we “make openness, diversity and inclusion a central part of the economic agenda.”

Employers understand that diversity leads to better business performance, and the data proves it. Racially diverse businesses have higher than average market share, higher sales revenues and more customers.  In Buffalo Niagara, closing the gap means having 1,200 more college or career ready graduates to fill those jobs and it means we will have nearly 20,000 more adults with an
associate degree or higher qualifications.
Diversity in the Worforce - Buffalo, NY
And there is a critical need for these individuals in our workforce.  In our 2016 Buffalo Niagara Partnership Membership survey, labor issues were at the forefront.  The top two areas of concern identified by our members were finding qualified candidates and achieving a more diverse workforce

According to a new Labor Market Study from Invest Buffalo Niagara, there will be more than 1,000 manufacturing job openings a year alone, and ¾ of those will be entry level positions with an average wage of over $35,000 per year. To put that in perspective, racial equity dividend report says the median FAMILY income for a person of color is $33,000 per year.

Connecting these dots will have a transformational effect on families and neighborhoods.  If we can work together to bridge the gaps evident in the report, we will have the workers we need for tomorrow while giving more families economic security.

Please join us! Here’s where you can read the full report and get engaged in the effort.

Dottie Gallagher-Cohen Headshot

About Dottie Gallagher-Cohen

President & CEO