Last month, we shared a few things that employers can do to create an economy that works for all Coloradans – no matter your race, ethnicity or gender. We are so grateful to our investors in Prosper CO who are helping drive changes that will ensure we truly have the best economy in the nation.
Just last week, the Milken Institute ranked Denver as the 11th best-performing large city in 2021 but noted our housing affordability is preventing higher rankings. The City of Denver ranks 141 out of the largest 200 metro areas in the nation when it comes to housing affordability. That reality hurts our workforce and that workforce means everything to our economic success.
In addition to the long-term work we’re doing with employers and policymakers, we’ve also identified 10 things employers can do today that will support our teams and help address racial and gender disparities.
- Map all the jobs in your organization based on wages, race and gender and career path potential to discover what actions you can take to address disparities and move all employees into jobs with better pay and benefits.
Implement a diversity scorecard that would allow you to compare against other employers, set goals and track progress.
Take steps to increase the diversity of your applicant pools.
- Show your commitment to fair chance hiring.
- Engage in best practices to retain diverse teammates in your workplace.
- Ensure you offer the most critical benefits that help employees begin to prosper.
- Provide training opportunities and career tracks to ensure lower paid employees have the opportunities and supports needed for advancement.
Small Business Support
8. Diversify your supply chains and contracts by engaging more women- and minority-owned companies to bid on work with your organization.
9. Volunteer to mentor and support small business owners and entrepreneurs.
10. Help your employees address their housing needs by educating yourself and teammates. Engage in conversations with elected and appointed public officials and neighbors to build more housing that is affordable.
These 10 steps are just a start. And, many of you have likely begun some of them, but we hope all our members will use this list to begin the work. Through Prosper CO, we will offer resources at prosperco.org and invite you to reach out for guidance if we can be of further assistance.
We also hope you’ll join the Chamber and Bank of America next Wednesday, March 3 for a virtual event, Prosper CO: Convening for Opportunity, Confronting Economic Disparities, with Harvard economist Dr. Raj Chetty. We’ll learn about the real disparities that exist in workforce, entrepreneurship and housing in our region. We’ll also discuss very specific actionable steps employers can take to increase equity and opportunity. Register today.
Unemployment Fraud Claims in Colorado Top 1 Million
Last week, during our webinar on unemployment fraud in Colorado, we learned that the Colorado Department of Labor and Employment (CDLE) has received over 1 million fraudulent unemployment claims in the last year. To give context – there were less than 100 claims in 2019. The crime is hitting every industry, sector and every state in the nation. At the Chamber, 20% of our staff, including myself, have been victims.
The question is, “What should we do about it?”
The CDLE team told us that employers are often the first to learn about fraud, because the department doesn’t always have the correct contact information for the employee. If you are notified of a fraudulent claim, let your employee know immediately and both you and the employee – especially the employee – should file a fraud claim on ColoradoUI.gov through the secure, online form. (It’s critical that the employee file.)
The Colorado Attorney General’s Office also stressed that people should be wary of scams upon the original fraud scam. For instance, if you receive a call stating you must repay any claims. That is also fraud. Neither the CDLE nor the IRS will ask you to repay money from a fraudulent claim filed under your name. (Another reason why it is so important you file a claim of fraud.) If you receive a phone call, email or other communication asking for you to wire money somewhere, don’t do it.
We’ve compiled unemployment fraud information and resources, including a recording of last week’s webinar, on our website. Learn more about what to do if you and your business is a victim.
Kelly Brough is the president and CEO of the Denver Metro Chamber.