Equity@Work Redefines Success for Atlanta’s Workforce Development System

Racial Equity and Inclusion

In early 2020, CareerRise convened over sixty organizations and companies affiliated with the region’s workforce development efforts to dive deeply into the workforce development system’s strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. While the group identified many challenges, there was consensus that addressing racial inequities had to be integral to creating an effective and meaningful workforce initiative.


As the impacts of the pandemic further demonstrated how many social systems
contributed to racial inequity, the feedback gathered during the initial meeting positioned CareerRise and the Equity@Work team to continue the momentum and validated the work was headed in the right direction.


Racial inequities in the existing economic system became apparent during the initial conversations as many were grounded in ineffective ways of measuring diversity and equity.

  • The Metro Atlanta Chamber
  • Atlanta Regional Commission
  • Community Foundation of Greater Atlanta
  • United Way of Greater Atlanta
  • Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta
  • Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation
  • Georgia Budget and Policy Institute
  • Atlanta Center for Self-sufficiency

Helton says without an intentional focus, most of the issues identified through Equity@Work would not naturally fall into place. “To change our systems to a ‘working with’ and not ‘doing to’ approach, it will require continued and focused effort,” says Helton.

“Historically, we’ve looked at the demographics of the people served to gauge diversity and inclusion, but that is no longer good enough. We now need to look at how we are offering our services and if they are offered in a way that is accessible and meaningful.”
– JOHN HELTON, President and CEO 

When Workforce Works is an opportunity to tell and highlight successful workforce programs, projects, and initiatives from the MAIP Partner network. These aren’t just any stories about workforce programs, but stories of programs that really get it right – putting industry first, engaging career seekers, and developing deep partnerships – the workforce “secret sauce”. 

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