In Houston, the economic fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic has resulted in one of the highest unemployment rates of any metropolitan area in the nation and has exacerbated economic disparities already felt by residents in many Houston neighborhoods. Before the pandemic, 80 percent – or 36 – of Houston’s 45 most economically distressed zip codes were majority Black and Latinx. The residents hardest hit by this downturn are the same communities from historically underinvested neighborhoods that have been dealing with economic inequities for generations. Recognizing that economic growth must benefit everyone, city officials have incorporated a Covid-19 addendum to the Resilient Houston strategy to ensure that equitable wealth-building and employment can be achieved through recovery efforts, specifically through workforce development.

To support these efforts, Houston will partner with FUSE Executive Fellow Kenneth Williams for one year to launch new initiatives to measurably increase every city resident’s access to higher-paying jobs with the best prospects for building wealth and financial resilience. The Executive Fellow will bolster job pipelines and employment opportunities and empower residents to meet the educational and vocational requirements of the “jobs of the future,” ensuring that all residents have the ability to generate wealth and build financial resilience for years to come.