“The Fusion of Inclusion”
Expanding Minorities’ Technology-Sector
Presence Is Critical to Fueling Northeast Ohio’s
Competitive Drive
June 2012
The Fusion of Inclusion
Report was written to quantify African and Latino American participation in
high-growth technology industries
Economic development organizations, policymakers, business leaders, colleges
and universities and philanthropists have recognized the urgent need for
greater entrepreneurship in technology fields and have been working to build
the region’s technology infrastructure
The region’s economic development eco-system has identified emerging high
growth industries for support and seeded entrepreneurial success by improving
access to capital, encouraging a risk-taking culture, expanding networking
opportunities, identifying markets and addressing workforce challenges
Yet, there is a growing threat to regional competitiveness: underperformance
of African and Latino American populations in the industries identified as
emerging drivers of the regional economy
The Fusion of Inclusion
PolicyBridge received funding, support and subject matter expertise from
regional economic development organizations: NorTech, The America21
Project, JumpStart, BioEnterprise, MAGNET, TeamNEO, and the Fund for Our
Economic Future
Cleveland State University’s Center for Economic Development provided the
quantitative analysis
PolicyBridge conducted qualitative research through focus group sessions held
throughout the region with participants from the private, public and non-profit
sectors from the African, Latino and Caucasian communities
The quantitative and qualitative research and analysis are basis for the
conclusions and recommendations contained in this report
The Fusion of Inclusion
Significant disparities are found in four critical areas - employment,
entrepreneurship, engagement and education. Although minorities make
up roughly 20% of the study region total population:
African and Latino American workers combined account for less than 10% of
the workers in selected high-tech industries in NEO. For the nation overall,
they account for about 16% of workers.
African and Latino Americans also only own about 2% of all business in
technology-based growth industries throughout the region and state and 4% in
the nation.
African and Latino Americans report significant obstacles in accessing startup
capital and business development support
African and Latino Americans lag behind their NEO non-minority counterparts
in educational attainment overall and specifically in the fields of science,
technology, engineering and mathematics
The Fusion of Inclusion - Employment
The CSU analysis found that minorities were underrepresented in NEO hightech industries compared to the region’s population distribution, but there is
also a significant difference in the jobs minorities do in those industries, which
African and Latino Americans were less likely to hold management
African and Latino Americans were less likely to work in computer,
mathematics, architecture and engineering fields
Only 22.2% of African and Latino Americans were working in NEO’s
high-tech sector in 2010 held science and math occupations as
compared to 34.9% for non-minorities
The Fusion of Inclusion - Entrepreneurship
African Americans in the region own about 1% of high-tech industries, a rate
similar to those owned at the state and national levels
Latino Americans in the region and the state own 1% of the high-tech as
compared to 3% across the country
African and Latino American ownership rate of high-tech companies is
disproportionately low compared to the relative size of the minority population
in the geography
African and Latino Americans face hurdles that hinder their entrepreneurial
activity such as: lack of funding, lack of entrepreneurial role models and
technology industry networks, lack of entrepreneurial capacity and business
knowledge, and lack of entrepreneurial training programs
The Fusion of Inclusion - Engagement
African and Latino Americans have difficulty navigating the
barriers and mastering the learning curve of the business
development process
Disjointed advice can be worse than no advice
Relatively small amounts can seem like insurmountable hurdles
The balancing act: Do you invest limited funds toward prototype
product development or spend money to market a product you do
not have?
Support organizations and programs lack an understanding and
accommodations for the particular funding and informational
challenges faced by minority entrepreneurs
The lack of experienced minority mentors and champions
The Fusion of Inclusion - Education
Of all minorities working in NEO high-tech industries, less than 1/3 had a
bachelor’s degree of higher
Minorities lag behind their non-minority counterparts in educational attainment
Fewer African Americans students pursue degrees in STEM fields than students
from other racial and ethnic backgrounds
Latino American students earn STEM field degrees at a rate lower than their
non-minority counterparts
African and Latino American families and communities often do not have the
awareness or skills to support students pursuing education in STEM classes
Recommendations - Entrepreneurship
Measure progress annually in minority business development in the region’s
technology clusters
Establish performance metrics for key staff at economic development
organizations that align with minority entrepreneurship outcomes with
compensation incentives
Facilitate partnerships among existing businesses and organizations
Expand and deepen mentoring programs for aspiring minority entrepreneurs
Promote a unified one-stop shop for funding, technical, legal and marketing
Recommendations - Engagement
Reach out to minority entrepreneurs and minorities working in or studying
STEM fields to invite them to participate in networking activities that connect
them to the region’s identified emerging high-tech industry clusters
Establish performance metrics at economic development organizations that tie
outreach to minority entrepreneurs to performance reviews and other
compensation incentives
Develop an intermediary capacity specifically to help minorities connect with
NEO’s existing innovation eco-system
Include minority business leaders among regional task forces and advisory
boards to bring their voices to the table
Recommendations - Employment
Explore opportunities to help minorities with transferable skills move into
higher-paying jobs in high-tech industries
Employ “good corporate citizens” peer pressure to encourage businesses
throughout the region to reach out to young people – minority and nonminority – to expose them to careers and opportunities available in NEO
Create a blended venture philanthropy and enterprise development model to
foster STEM education, mine regional talent and anticipate the workforce
needs of cluster industries
Commit to measuring progress annually in minority employment in
the region’s technology clusters
Recommendations - Education
Measure progress in encouraging more minority students to pursue
STEM degrees and careers in STEM fields
Develop an informational campaign targeted towards minority students
in high school and middle school to raise awareness of opportunities in
STEM fields
Partner with area manufacturers to develop apprenticeship programs,
short-term certifications and other hands-on training options to
address shortages in in-demand technical skills
Reach out to schools districts serving high minority populations to
alert counselors and teachers to in-demand technical skills and career
Closing Thoughts
► What
► All
gets measured gets done
stakeholders need a seat at the table
► Workforce
development must include innovate
pathways to emerging industries
► S.T.E.M.
education requires a long-term strategy
and robust resources

The Fusion of Inclusion