to make the region from Baltimore to Richmond the most inclusive and competitive in the nation.
The Blueprint aims to unite and catalyze efforts to make the Capital Region the nation’s leading economic engine of inclusive growth and shared prosperity—making it a more attractive place to live and thrive, and a greater magnet for talent and business investment.
The Blueprint outlines six inter-connected priority pillars for our region to focus on to close equity gaps and achieve this vision. These issues cannot be solved in siloes—for example, an individual with stable housing, reliable transportation, and access to health resources will be better positioned to attain education and maintain stable employment.
The Capital Region – which spans Baltimore to Richmond – has extraordinary diversity, tremendous assets, and immense potential. Our region encompasses world-class universities and research institutions, leading growth industries, and a rich diversity of people and cultures. As the third largest regional economy in the U.S. and the seventh largest in the world, the Capital Region has the talent, jobs, transportation, and innovation ecosystem foundation to prosper.
Adapting or changing an organizational approach such as workforce practices or business procedures to support inclusivity
Providing financial capital to help cover the cost of a program, service, or initiative
Resource Sharing: Exchanging or disseminating information, best practices, resources, or forming industry partnerships
Promoting or amending public policy, regulations, or funding
The Capital Region is the third largest regional economy in the U.S. and possesses a diverse population, a flourishing business scene, and a burgeoning startup community. It is a global economy home to a workforce of more than 5.3M4 residents (3.5M of which hold a bachelor’s degree or higher)5 and hosts the headquarters of 48 Fortune 1000 companies.6 The Capital Region is the seat of the country’s government and has unparalleled access to federal agencies, laboratories, and policy institutions. Further, it is also a world-class innovation hub, boasting research centers and critical business and trade infrastructure. Despite these factors, the region’s economic growth rate lags behind that of the nation as a whole: from 2020 to 2021, national real GDP grew 5.5%1, outpacing the region’s 3.3%2 real GDP growth.A Additionally, racial disparities persist across areas such as education, employment, health, housing, access to capital, and access to transportation and digital infrastructure.
The Partnership recognizes there are many communities in our region who face barriers to economic inclusion, including, but not limited to, the Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) community, the American Indian and Alaska Native community, the LGBTQ+ community, women, veterans, immigrants, refugees, and those with diverse abilities. This Blueprint explicitly calls out the Black and Hispanic/LatinxB communities in many instances, as the data across our six pillars most often indicates that in our region, these communities experience acute disparities in economic inclusion.
“The mission of the Greater Washington Partnership…is a model that can and should be replicated around our nation.”
Kamala D. Harris,
Vice President of the United States
Ensuring that the Capital Region is the most inclusive and competitive region in the nation requires a cross-sector approach. The Partnership leverages the interest and commitment of the region’s largest employers to prioritize inclusive growth across all pillars.
The Partnership’s work spans three focus areas: skills and talent, regional mobility and infrastructure, and inclusive growth. Through Collaborative of Leaders in Academia and Business (Capital CoLAB), the Partnership aims to prepare learners—from K-12 through postsecondary education and beyond—for the 21st century workforce by aligning educational outcomes with industry needs. As a convener of educators, academic institutions, and employers, CoLAB’s mission is to expand the region’s diverse tech ecosystem by building industry-aligned digital tech pathways for the region’s learners. The program is on track to engage 45,000 students and adult learners in digital tech pathways by 2025, with at least 50% of them identifying as Black, Hispanic, or women.9
Through its Regional Mobility and Infrastructure initiative, the Partnership published the Capital Region Blueprint for Regional Mobility, the region’s first employer-led agenda for creating a more accessible and equitable transportation system. In addition to laying out a 25-year Capital Region Rail Vision, the Partnership has worked directly with local partners in Baltimore and Richmond to expand and enhance transit accessibility, and notably helped advocate for increased Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority (WMATA) spending across jurisdictions. Furthermore, the Partnership is a founding member of the MetroNow Coalition—a leading voice for enhanced transit in the metro area.
The Partnership approaches all of its work with an inclusive growth lens and its partner organizations have made substantial commitments in pursuit of this ambition. In March 2022, Partnership organizations announced a historic $4.7B collective effort over five years to support the Capital Region’s underserved communities and Minority Business Enterprises (MBEs). Of this amount, $2.6B was directed to procurement spending with diverse suppliers and MBEs, with a priority on Black and Hispanic- owned businesses. Another $1.5B was directed to wealth-building opportunities in historically underserved communities, such as direct corporate investments in affordable housing and in community organizations leading place-based equity initiatives. The remaining $619M was directed to financial investments in Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFIs) and Minority Depository Institutions (MDIs), whose strategic financing initiatives help create economic opportunity in underserved communities. The Partnership will leverage the Blueprint to continue building and scaling current efforts and initiatives.