Carnegie Mellon University

Policy Summit 2021

Policy Summit 2021: Pathways to Economic Resilience in Our Communities

Metro21 attended Policy Summit 2021: Pathways to Economic Resilience on June 23-25, 2021. 

The Summit focused on economic resilience and equity and how they play out in communities of all sizes and compositions. The event highlighted the policies and practices that support or hinder people in our most vulnerable communities from being able to prepare for, adapt to, and respond to economic shocks, such as coronavirus-related closures, and underlying stresses, such as poverty and inequality. The effects of COVID-19 and racial injustice were at front and center, across a range of topic areas, including but not limited to, small business, workforce and economic development, and housing.

The Summit featured:

Caitlin Cain, Vice President and Director, Rural LISC
Andre M. Perry, Senior Fellow, The Brookings Institution
Teryn Zmuda, Chief Economist and Director, National Association of Counties Futures Lab

Theresa Y. Singleton, Senior Vice President and Community Affairs Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia

Karin M. Norington-Reaves, CEO, Chicago Cook Workforce Partnership

Geri Aglipay, Midwest Director, Small Business Majority
Abbey Omodunbi, Senior Economist, The PNC Financial Services Group
Danielle Sydnor, CEO, We Win Strategies Group

Mekael Teshome, Vice President and Senior Regional Officer, Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland
Gabriella Celeste, Policy Director, Case Western Reserve University
Jeffrey Shook, Associate Professor, University of Pittsburgh

And many others!

Insights from few of the sessions are below:

  1. Opening Keynote by Andre M. Perry:
  • Black Cities – Largely located in the Deep South, along the East Coast.
  • Black, Indigenous and Latino populations are twice as likely to die from COVID-19 than their white and Asian peers.
  • Black businesses are underrepresented: Black people comprise approximately 14% of the U.S. population, but Black businesses are only 2.2% of the nation’s 5.7 million employer businesses. If Black businesses were the equivalent of the Black population, there would be more than 800,000 more Black businesses.
  1. Session by Karin M. Norington Reaves on “Technology and the Post-Pandemic Work From Anywhere Economy.

Practices for customers and staff that are here to stay

  • Streamlined eligibility and intake process
  • More customer resources available online
  • Text campaigns for new programs and services
  • Virtual special events, conferences,
  • board meetings and hiring fairs
  • Remote work
  1. Session by Geri Aglipay on “Big Help for Small Businesses: Solutions for Improving Access to Capital.”

Solutions for equitable small business economic recovery

  • Pass both the Small Business Lending Disclosure and Broker Regulation Act and the Small Business Fair Lending Act
  • Ensure equity for unbanked and underbanked small businesses via set-asides, innovative flexible capital, and forgiveness of EIDL loans under $150,000
  • Pass child and dependent care policies with paid family medical leave insurance, care subsidies and tax credits, and ensure increased healthcare affordability
  • Improve business development assistance that acknowledges business owners’ additional caregiving responsibilities
  • Innovate the small business workplace via programs that facilitate retirement security.”
  1. Session by Gabriella Celeste and Jeffrey Shook on “Policy Deep Dive: Research and Policy.”

Some Future Considerations in Bridging Research & Policy

  • Fostering value in university setting
  • Growing professional development supports
  • Connecting researchers to potential influencers in policy ecology
  • Identifying structural and systemic racism in research design
  • Educating policymakers on value of credible data and research-informed policy
  • Convening policy forums with policymakers
  • Developing rapid response capabilities

Moving Forward: Role of Researchers

  • Research briefs and reports
  • Op-eds and other forms of media
  • Participation in bargaining sessions
  • Testimony at public hearings
  • Direct engagement with policymakers and staff
  • Continuing to develop relationships with other organizations
  • Bringing the conversation to business groups and employers
  • Showing up when asked

View recordings from the summit here.