Economic Inclusion

One of our four key strategies at the Greater Akron Chamber is to advance economic opportunity through diversity and inclusion to accelerate the growth and success of Greater Akron's Companies.


The Inaugural Greater Akron Inclusion Summit was presented on September 12, 2019 by the Elevate Greater Akron core partners - the City of Akron, County of Summit, GAR Foundation and the Greater Akron Chamber.

We asked the audience to respond to three questions at the end of the event. These were the top responses:


One of my "aha" moments was...

The number of open jobs vs. number of skilled people

  • 23% of respondents
  • There are about 20,000 open jobs in Akron
  • In Summit County, we have 13,000 skilled, prime-aged people. Half have a four-year degree.

The National Wealth and Income Gap statistic

  • 22% of respondents
  • Q: for every $100 in income a white family earns, what does a black family earn? A: $57
  • Q: For every $100 in wealth a white family has, how much does a black family have? A: $5

My next step to drive diversity and inclusion in my organization will be...

Review job requirements & be more intentional in hiring practices

  • 23% of respondents

Look into implementing unconscious bias training

  • 12% of respondents

One resource I need to advance diversity & inclusion in my organization is...

A list of minority vendors, suppliers, and/or candidates

  • 18% of respondents

Opportunity for continued conversation / a meeting for open and honest dialog on the topic

  • 11% of respondents

Access to data and the Economic Case for Inclusion

  • 10% of respondents

Commitment & follow through from senior leadership

  • 10% of respondents

As a reminder, here are things you can do right now to ignite change in your company and in this community.

  • Implement unconscious bias training
  • Offer/utilize Employee Resource Groups
  • Partner with Workforce Development Programs
  • Re-evaluate your job requirements (required vs. preferred)
  • Be inclusive when promoting job opportunities
  • Engage minority suppliers
  • Engage and offer mentorship to entrepreneurs
  • Communicate on best practices

We will continue to lead and drive work in this space. Here is what you can expect from us in the future.

  • Training initiative focused on mid-level technology jobs
  • Supplier Diversity Guide
  • Unconscious Bias Training Resources
  • List of MBE business resources
  • Peer to Peer Round tables
  • Storytelling to highlight minority and female-owned businesses: View stories here.
  • Inclusion goals for Chamber Board/Staff Diversity and Operations

New features of the Economic Inlclusion work being done by the Greater Akron Chamber:

  • The Greater Akron Chamber has partnered with the Greater Cleveland Partnership Equity & Inclusion to develop the Inclusion Marketplace. View it here.

  • ​The Greater Akron Inclusion Challenge launched in October of 2020. It is designed to leverage the momentum underway in the region to drive action around diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts within companies. For the ensuing 21 days, companies will be asked to reflect on their current diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts and commit to doing something tangible to advance them by the end of 2020.

    For more detailed information on the Inclusion Challenge, please visit our challenge site here. This site will offer resources, sign-up information, and challenge specific details. For other questions, you can contact Robert DeJournett, VP of Opportunity and Inclusion at [email protected].

Inclusion Summit Videos

The Inclusion Summit opened with a startling history of inclusion in Akron and concluded with a challenge put forth by community leaders.

Diversity, Inclusion & Equity: Moving to Action in Your Business

Check out the panel discussion from our Leadership Dialogue Series.

Greater Akron Economic Inclusion in the Press

Metro Parks
Metro Parks
Metro Parks
Metro Parks


Stay Updated

Be the first to receive new resources, event invitations, and data about inclusion in Greater Akron.

( ) -