Harris County must do what is within its power to address our region’s growing inequality and increase access to economic opportunity in every community.
To lead by example, Harris County has established a minimum $15-an-hour sustainable wage for its employees and now offers paid leave for employees to take care of a sick family member.
Harris County Department of Economic Equity and Opportunity
In 2019, Precinct One led the way by proposing a Harris County Department of Economic Equity and Opportunity. In 2020, we named a director, Pamela Chan, previously Associate Director of the Social Policy Institute, Washington University in St. Louis, who will begin leading this department in 2021. The first-of-its-kind department will implement economic policies and initiatives focused on fair and equitable county contracting, workforce development, job placement, community benefit agreements, and workers’ rights.
We strive to lift our working families up instead of keeping them down.
One of the first initiatives this department will undertake is creating and administering a policy for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) in Harris County. In 2020, Harris County released the results of a Disparity Study analyzing Harris County’s contracting practices around MWBEs, and they were staggering. Only 9.1% of Harris County’s contract dollars go toward MWBEs, even though these firms make up 28.4% of the available market share of services that our county typically procures. And sadly, these numbers are not an anomaly. We are facing a systemic problem across our region, and it is shutting competent and qualified MWBEs out of important economic opportunities. We must break down barriers to entry and ensure that Harris County offers economic opportunities that are truly open to everyone.
This program will set targets for MWBE participation in county contracting and will provide services, technical assistance, and other resources for minority and women-led small businesses in Harris County to succeed.
Opportunity Builds Harris County