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EXPANDING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY

The United States is a nation built on the principle that all men and women are created equal, regardless of race, gender, or other demographic trait. Built on the promise that all had equal right to pursue life, liberty, and happiness to the extent of their ambition, skill set, and desire. Unfortunately, our history demonstrates that social behaviors and attitudes did not always live up to our core values. Despite our past, the future can be different with some minor changes. Great opportunity to expand equal opportunity for all, which can have positive impact for our economy and society overall. 

There is an economic benefit if society expanded opportunity and investment to communities often left in the dark. While some communities have too small of a population, others do not make the cut because of their demographic makeup, which is unfortunate. More can be done to spread both opportunity and investment in new communities. The focus should be on reducing bias in hiring process and improve the ability for certain communities to attract both public and private investments. 

Regardless the size of the organization, all want to attract and hire the best talent available. A big question is whether an organization is hiring the best candidates if there are biases the automatically eliminate certain groups from consideration. Many large firms implement diversity programs and cultural sensitivity programs. The problem is selectivity bias of talent management systems and cultural fits hiring managers use to select qualified employees. Cultural fit may all too often fall in the category of people that look, act, speak, and think like the decision maker. 

There are some steps that organizations should do to improve equality in candidate selection process. The process should be as demographic neutral as possible, potentially separating identifying content from experience and education sections of application material. Focus on what their educational background is and quality of work experience, which could understandably content some level of bias. There are studies that show names on job applications did impact whether a candidate received an interview request or not. Another aspect to try is expanding the candidate channels to receive a larger pool of candidates from a wider variety of backgrounds. 

The mitigation of biases and expansion diversity in hiring is a first step, which is already in the place. The biggest obstacle will be making certain communities more attractive to investment from public and private sources. Typically, investors consider many factors of a location. Quality of education system and connection to higher levels of education. Safety and quality of law enforcement, considering workers will live nearby. Also, the infrastructure available and how well local governments maintain and invest in the community. 

Unfortunately, many communities with high number of residents classified as underrepresented minorities struggle in these criteria. Local government fail to build an environment attractive to outside investment. Instead, local elected officials provide minimal sustenance through access to government services, but never afford residents opportunity, growth, or prosperity. The situations are good for generational politicians seeking to maintain reliable votes, but detrimental to those that cast the ballots. Typically, these communities face immense poverty and high crime rates with ineffective government service to address problems. 

There is a need to change the culture of these environments. The longtime dogma of leadership and residents need evolving to make the needed changes to improve attraction of investors. For too long, public officials in these municipalities blame corporations, other levels of government, and everything else but the policies they enact. While beneficial for retaining power, the downside is born by the residents who live in environments with cyclical negativity. To change, people must understand the need to build growth environments that sustain themselves.

Good government creates environments where people can start businesses, both big and small, which creates jobs and grow local wealth. As a result, local governments expands their tax coffers, enabling leaders to invest in education and government services. Businesses need access to good education systems, both local and collegiate, to recruit new talent and expand labor. Moreover, other services are essential for new potential residents that will come into the locations, expanding the population and taxpaying base at the same time. Additionally, new revenue needs to fund local law enforcement, as public safety is essential for all businesses, their employees, and other residents.

Reducing bias in hiring as well as improving the attractiveness of troubled environments is way to ensure all Americans have equal access to the American dream and our free market economy. The more people who can contribute to our economy the better off our society will be.