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Colborn: What Can Seattle Teach Us About Inclusive Growth?

From afar, Seattle seems an enchanted land of limitless growth and bountiful coffee. Places like Philadelphia need to understand how the Seattles of the world achieve better than average economic growth if we are to move beyond our own bottom-of-the-pack growth rate.


At the same time, we need to understand how growth translates (or doesn’t) to an equity and inclusion agenda.  At JEVS Human Services, we focus on expanding economic and life opportunities for disadvantaged people. We’re used to doing that in the constrained Philadelphia economy of old. Economic growth lately seems to offer so many possibilities for our work. Indeed, the revving Philadelphia economy enables us to find more jobs for our clients and engage more deeply with employers to explore pro-equity strategies that address their talent issues. Yet, the persistent problems of skills, inaccessible hiring processes, and challenges to workplace success mean our clients do not fully participate in all the growing economy has to offer.


I’m looking forward to our Seattle visit as a time connect with other civic leaders from Philadelphia as we explore the Emerald City’s economic growth and how strategic approaches to talent, education, and employment ensure the benefits of growth are shared across the region.


John Colborn is Chief Operating Officer of JEVS Human Services