In the City of Cincinnati our economy is growing and we are experiencing a renaissance that has lifted the spirits of our City. As we experience this progression, Mayor Cranley is working hard to extend that success to everyone in Cincinnati and close disparities within our City. We can only be a great city if our revitalization and prosperity is shared throughout our community. We cannot be a tale of two cities.
In 2013, when Mayor Cranley took office the City spent roughly $4 million with African American-owned businesses, representing less than three percent of total spending. As a candidate, he vowed to change that promising an increase to 15 percent in four years, and as our Mayor, he has worked hard to close those gaps.
Although there is more to be achieved, our City has made great progress by surpassing this goal a year early, achieving 17 percent—or $19.6 million—of city contract awards going to African American-owned businesses in 2016. This does not account for an additional $24.8 million in commitments the City also secured through negotiating economic inclusion requirements for African American and women-owned businesses from private sector partners through City economic development deals. Mayor Cranley is truly changing the way the City does business.
This process to increase inclusion started when Mayor Cranley commissioned a Croson Disparity Study that had long been resisted by previous administrations and members of council. The study was necessary to establish a concrete plan to improve contracting with African American owned-businesses by allowing the city to create inclusion goals and change our contracting policies to consider a business owner’s minority status when awarding contracts. In July of 2015 the study was completed and the City began to aggressively pursue inclusion goals.
To better approach the problem Mayor Cranley also established an Economic Inclusion Advisory council (EIAC) and made good on his campaign promise of creating an Office of Economic Inclusion. The EIAC, a team of business and community leaders, provided a set of recommendations on how the city can promote Economic Inclusion and continues to actively work to implement those recommendations and create new ideas to increase equity. This group, along with the Office of Economic Inclusion, has been instrumental in achieving our success.
Like you, Mayor Cranley believe we still have much more ground to cover to truly increase the equity in our City. We still have disparities, but we are making progress and he is committed to working with you to achieve even greater success. We can never be a truly great and progressive city until everyone can share in our prosperity.
Since his election, Mayor Cranley’s office has planned and expanded the annual Youth Expo to kick off the City’s Youth 2 Work summer employment program. The Youth Expo gets students excited about the summer employment program and is an annual showcase highlighting opportunities for students.
In 2017, 391 youth attended the event, many with their parents. The Expo featured a career pathways panel and a professional development training session. The Youth Expo is a consortium of city departments, nonprofit organizations, and other youth employers to educate students about meaningful ways they can be engaged throughout their break.
The eight-week program provides job readiness and life skills training to Cincinnati youth between the ages of 14-18 through internal City Departments or outsourced organizations. Youth will work between 20-30 hours a week from June to August. Employers include City departments, nonprofit organizations, and private sector partners. Youth are placed in career-oriented employment opportunities such as law enforcement, fire and safety, horticulture, recreation, art, technology and administration.
Established Task Force on Immigration to make Cincinnati a great place for immigrants to call home, start a business and thrive.
The Metropolitan Area Religious Coalition of Cincinnati and Catholic Charities are creating IDs for immigrants, homeless, returning citizens or anyone who would not otherwise have access to a government-issued ID. These IDs will help new arrivals access basic municipal services and increase the safety of our communities.
Mayor Cranley and City Council declared Cincinnati a Sanctuary City as an exercise of constitutionally-protected free speech. Mayor Cranley took this stance to express our profound disagreement with President Trump’s orders and to stand in solidarity with Syrian refugees.