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Jobs Program Needed To Improve Houston’s Income Inequality, Report Says

Mayoral Task Force on Equity wants city to create or improve 20,000 jobs

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The goal is to create 20,000 new or improved jobs.

Houston ranks 64th out of 100 cities in economic equality of its residents, according to the Brookings Institution.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner's Task Force on Equity wants to change that.

One major recommendation it came up with in its report "Rising Together" is that the city launch a jobs program, "focused on what can the city do with its direct employees and its subcontracts and those who it has influence over," said Kyle Shelton, director of strategic partnerships at Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research and a member of the task force, "And then, how can it work with business partners to ensure things like more family-sustaining wages are put into place?"

The report defines a family-sustaining job as one that pays at least $15 an hour. Also part of the program would be on-the-job training or apprenticeships.

The goal is to create 20,000 new or improved jobs.

Shelton said Houston has historically had inequity but also strengths.

"How do we turn those in ways that doesn't stop growth and doesn't stop benefits for the groups helping to create it but also helps to share that benefit and helps to bring more people into it?" he said.

The report also recommends investing in infrastructure in underserved areas, particularly in communities of color.

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