Corpus Christi Among Five U.S. Cities Teaming Up to Close Equity Gaps for Working Adults

 The Council for Adult and Experiential Learning (CAEL), today announced the launch of the Inclusive Development Network, an ambitious new initiative designed to advance inclusive workforce development within their regions through a focus on reaching underserved populations. Cleveland, Ohio; Corpus Christi, Texas; Spokane, Washington; Coweta, Oklahoma; and Pensacola, Florida, were selected from more than 35 applications for the Network's first cohort of communities.

"Although our economy is growing, segments of our communities are still struggling with poverty, wage stagnation and underemployment. In local economic development, a focus on working adults and inclusivity can help ensure that every member of the community has the opportunity to thrive," said CAEL President Marie A. Cini. "Each of the communities selected for the Network will help build and scale an inclusive new approach to workforce development."

Backed by grants from ECMC Foundation and JPMorgan Chase & Co., the Inclusive Development Network will work to identify and implement strategies that reduce equity gaps in local workforce development. Participating communities were selected based on their geography and size, as well as their existing and proposed reach with underserved populations.

A lead economic development organization within each community will assemble leadership teams that include representatives from local institutions, including government agencies, colleges and universities, employers and community organizations. Through a specialized planning process facilitated by CAEL, the teams will hone inclusive workforce development strategies to create education, job and career opportunities for all residents. Initial lead organizations include the Greater Cleveland Partnership, the United Corpus Christi Chamber of Commerce, the Northeast Oklahoma Regional Alliance, the FloridaWest Economic Development Alliance and Greater Spokane Incorporated.

The Inclusive Development Network will be supported by partnerships with national experts, including International Economic Development Council (IEDC), Burning Glass Technologies, Avalanche Consulting Inc. and Quest Site Solutions.

"This work is about promoting economic inclusion for working adults at the local level," said ECMC Foundation President Peter J. Taylor. "Together, these leaders will blaze a new trail to a more equitable and prosperous future for working adults, families and communities."

To learn more about the IDN, visit


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