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Economic Inclusion and Development

Economic inclusion involves equal opportunity to economic activities such as employment, entrepreneurship, and consumerism. Economic development is reliant on harnessing the full potential of all residents and creating an inclusive economy. Immigrants and other underrepresented communities have the skills and assets to thrive, and economic development systems are prepared to leverage new and existing talent. In order to cultivate this talent further, lifelong learning opportunities, language, and other related barriers are addressed to assist underserved communities to reach financial stability. 


Strategy 1

Enhance access to career pathways and successful professional outcomes so that all Portlanders, particularly people of color, including immigrants and refugees have greater opportunities for upward economic mobility.


Short term expected result: By the end of year one after implementation, 50% or more of surveyed participants from referral agencies express improvement in accessing meaningful career opportunities and My Cities of Migration (My COM)  Portland’s Economic Inclusion Median results improve by 5%. 

Long term expected outcome: Three/two years after implementation, the average of all race minority categories, liquid Assets Poverty Rate in Cumberland County is below 59 %.




Develop professional to professional initiatives, such as a Professional Connector Program, to support the career advancement of foreign trained professionals.


Support the evaluation of foreign credentials and associated costs related to licensing and certification OF foreign trained INDIVIDUALS for those ineligible for existing SUPPORTS IN THIS AREA.


Establish an Employer Advisory Group, with cross-sector representation, to assess collective needs and efforts in order to increase the hiring and advancement of racially diverse and/or foreign-trained candidates.


Support the continuation, expansion or creation of customized, informed programming, tailored to the needs of high schools students and others, in order to ensure individuals are trained for, supported in and connected to employment with strong career pathways within Portland’s thriving sectors.


Develop ready to use tool-kits and best practices for employers to support their attraction and retention of a diverse workforce.


Support employer needs in various ways, such as hosting an annual employer only forum on How to Attract and Retain Diverse Talent to learn of gaps, best practices, and collective work.


Promote systematic, cross-sector job shadow opportunities, including a Job Shadow Day,  to support the labor needs of employers and the attraction and retention of a local motivated workforce, which includes those seeking employment, high school aged youth and recent college graduates.


Advocate with the Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation and the individual State boards of professional licensing, among others, to mitigate the challenges to licensing for those with foreign credentials and work experience outside of the United States.


Improve the connection to and leverage of resources across organizations serving targeted job seekers and sector employers by establishing learning communities and shared systems of communication between workforce development representatives and staff.


 Strategy 2

Improve the rate at which adult ESOL students/learners reach English proficiency in the City of Portland.


Short term expected result: By December 2019, mechanism exists to track and analyze collective English results across ESL service providers.

Long term expected result: By June 2020, the average CASAS level score (or other common assessment standard)  for tracked ESOL students in the ESOL collaborative improves by five or more points.



Continue to enhance collaboration between adult English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) service providers in the City of Portland through the ESOL collaborative to mitigate gaps and duplication of service and maximize collective results.


Expand or establish project based on the job opportunities for high English proficiency learners to improve upon their sector based technical language.


Advocate to establish one or more employer based English language program for its limited English proficient employees.


 Strategy 3

Improve the participation of entrepreneurs of color, including immigrants and refugees, in business development offerings, resources and networks.


Short term expected result: increase % of racially diverse entrepreneurs in business development offerings, resources and networks. 

Long term expected result: increase % of businesses started by people of color AND COM result for Economic Inclusion increases by 5%



Continue Immigrant Entrepreneurs – Starting a Business in Maine for Immigrant Entrepreneurs in partnership with the City of Portland’s Economic Development Department.


Advocate to ensure that Portland’s entrepreneurship options serve all residents including entrepreneurs of racial, linguistic, and religious minorities, and address their unique needs.