Employment and Jobs

Tools: Equity and Inclusion

May 11, 2020  • Economic Opportunities Program

Job Quality Tools Library > Section 4: Strengthening Practices to Improve Job Quality > Tools: Equity and Inclusion

Originally posted: May 11, 2020
Last updated: May 13, 2022

Section 4, the core of the library, includes tools designed to address specific components of job quality. Once organizations have determined their job quality priorities, they can turn to these tools to shift practices in the areas they have deemed most urgent, either in their own organizations or in the businesses with which they partner.

We’ve organized tools in eight categories that reflect the job quality attributes most commonly cited across the job quality frameworks and definitions included in Section 1. These attributes include wages, benefits, scheduling, legal rights, equity and inclusion, opportunity to build skills and advance, supportive work environment, and worker voice. Each attribute also includes sub-categories for ease of navigation.

↓ Tools and Resources Below the Box ↓



The Aspen Institute Economic Opportunities Program – Seven Workforce Questions That are Top of Mind During COVID-19: A Resource for Small Businesses

Who’s It For: Employers, Economic Development, Investing and Lending, Workforce Development

What’s It For: This resource provides guidance related to seven health and safety questions that small businesses have grappled with since the start of the pandemic. For each question, the authors include practical information, examples of steps taken by other small businesses, and links to helpful resources. Topics covered include creating an equitable and inclusive environment, recognizing and responding to worker’ caregiving responsibilities, and communicating about and ensuring workplace safety. Although written for small business owners, this resource may also be useful for larger employers as well as individuals that work with businesses, including economic development, investing and lending, and workforce development professionals.


Associated Black Charities – 10 Essential Questions to Apply a Racial Equity Lens in Workforce Policy

Who’s It For: Workforce Development

What’s It For: Opportunities and advantages are not equally distributed, and new policies and practices could perpetuate racial inequities. These ten questions help workforce providers consider racial equity when developing or implementing workforce policies. These questions ask you to consider the design, access, impact, and operations of any workforce program in order to work toward more equitable outcomes.


Screenshot: City of Madison – Racial Equity & Social Justice Initiative Tools

City of Madison – Racial Equity & Social Justice Initiative Tools

Who’s It For: Employers, Economic Development, Investing and Lending, Policy, Worker Advocacy, Workforce Development

What’s It For: This set of equity tools is designed to help organizations and individuals operationalize equity. Included is an equitable hiring tool, equitable workforce plans, and equity analysis tools. Tools focused on policy and budgeting provide a framework for users to consider whose voices are at the table when designing policies and regulations, who is likely to be impacted, and if the policy outcomes would lead to a more or less equitable environment. While designed for local government, these tools have broad relevance for a wide audience, including employers, policymakers, workforce development professionals, and others interested in centering equity in their policy and programmatic work.


New America – Bias Interrupters for Managers and Organizations

Who’s It For: Employers, Worker Advocacy, Workforce Development

What’s It For: This toolkit from New America is designed to help managers develop return-to-work plans that center equity and inclusion in their management practices. Without intentional planning, transitioning back to in-person work could reinforce ableism as well as class, gender, non-caregiver, and race privileges. As society moves to rebuild and recover, careful consideration to avoid mishandling the return to on-site work is imperative. This toolkit has actionable resources to help managers gather input from employees, understand legal requirements surrounding the return to in-person work, and select equitable best practices. Employers may find this tool useful for developing successful, equitable hybrid work models. Additionally, workforce development and worker advocacy professionals may find this toolkit helpful to share with their employer-partners.


Practical Law – Conducting a Pay Equity Audit

Who’s It For: Employers, Policy, Worker Advocacy, Workforce Development

What’s It For: In this paper, authors Karen L. Corman and Ryne C. Posey outline several key considerations for implementing a pay audit to assess pay disparities among current and incoming staff. Topics explored include the potential benefits and drawbacks of pay equity audits, the purpose and parameters of the audit, privilege considerations, practical guidance for conducting the audit, and post-audit considerations and remediation strategies. HR professionals and other individuals involved in conducting pay audits may find this resource useful. Additionally, those who work with employers may be interested in sharing this with their partners. You may access this downloadable document by clicking on the “PDF” symbol towards the top, right-hand side of the linked webpage.


Cover page: "Ready for Equity in Workforce Development: Racial Equity Readiness Assessment Tool"

Race Forward and Center for Social Inclusion – Ready for Equity in Workforce Development: Racial Equity Readiness Assessment Tool

Who’s It For: Worker Advocacy, Workforce Development

What’s It For: This racial equity tool is designed to support workforce development organizations and practitioners to advance their racial equity practice. The assessment guides workforce development organizations and practitioners to evaluate their programs, operations, and culture in order to identify areas of strength and opportunities for growth. Practitioners can use the toolkit to explore approaches that support institutional racial equity, evaluate their current efforts, and plan next steps to strengthen their practices.


Race Matters: Racial Equity Impact Analysis

Who’s It For: Employers, Policy, Worker Advocacy, Workforce Development

What’s It For: This impact analysis tool by Race Matters can be used to assess the impact of policies, programs, and practices on racial equity. The tool provides a set of five guiding questions to determine if existing and proposed policies and programs are likely to address specific racial disparities in the United States.


Race Matters: What’s Race Got To Do With It?

Who’s It For: Employers, Policy, Worker Advocacy, Workforce Development

What’s It For: This tool supports leaders to use data to assess the extent to which observed disparities are due to policies, practices, and processes that have a racial dimension. This six-step tool can be used by decision-makers in any organization to analyze outcomes and disparities.


Race Matters – Organizational Self-Assessment

Who’s It For: Employers, Economic Development, Investing and Lending, Worker Advocacy, Workforce Development

What’s It For: This organizational self-assessment can be used to measure staff competencies and awareness of racial inequities in your organization. The assessment includes questions related to competencies as well as organizational operations. The resulting racial equity score corresponds to potential next steps and tools that can help support your organization wherever you may be on your racial equity journey.


Screenshot of first page: Racial Equity Toolkit

Seattle Race and Social Justice Initiative – Racial Equity Toolkit

Who’s It For: Employers, Economic Development, Investing and Lending, Policy, Worker Advocacy, Workforce Development

What’s It For: The Racial Equity Toolkit provides a process and set of questions designed to analyze how policies, initiatives, programs, and budget issues benefit or burden communities of color. The toolkit can be used to guide the development, implementation, and evaluation of strategies and solicit input from community members and staff. Although the toolkit includes some information specific to the City of Seattle, it can be adapted by a range of stakeholders within and beyond local governments interested in centering racial equity in job quality strategies.


The Management Center – Equity & Inclusion Tools

Who’s It For: Employers, Economic Development, Investing and Lending, Policy, Worker Advocacy, Workforce Development

What’s It For: The Management Center created this library of tools related to equity and inclusion aimed at addressing internal practices and management approaches of organizations. Included are worksheets, resources, and case studies that are have application for organizations seeking to further equitable opportunities and outcomes.


Supplemental Resources – Race Equity
  1. Equity in the Center – Awake to Woke to Work: Building a Race Equity Culture. Building a race equity culture can support organizations’ capacity to reduce racial disparities within their organizations and through their external strategies. This resource is designed to support practitioners to strengthen internal organizational culture as it relates to race equity. This publication can support a range of organizations to prioritize racial equity, embed equitable practices, and monitor outcomes.
  2. ideas42 and Time’s Up Foundation – From Ideal Worker To Ideal Workplace: Using Behavioral Design to Create More Equitable Companies. The downloadable report linked on this webpage introduces behavioral design as an approach that can help disrupt behaviors that perpetuate the U.S. gender pay gap. An alternative to individual-focused bias and diversity training, this approach can help employers design interventions to address systems and norms. The report aims to help employers shift behaviors away from those that disadvantage women and toward those that benefit all employees. Although written to help employers reimagine their role in creating fair and dignified workplaces, this report may also be useful for organizations that work with businesses to share with employer partners.
  3. National Fund for Workforce Solutions – Behavioral Economics for Workforce Professionals. This report uses principles of behavioral economics to offer recommendations to workforce development professionals about how to strengthen their collaboration with business leaders and better understand how they make decisions. The report outlines four cognitive biases that might affect an employer’s decisions, including those related to business practice changes, and suggests practical solutions.
  4. National Skills Coalition – The Roadmap for Racial Equity: An imperative for workforce development advocates. This report highlights pressing racial disparities in the US workforce and education systems and offers recommendations for advancing racial equity within state and federal workforce policies. This publication is primarily geared towards workforce development professionals, as training and education can help address employment, income, and wealth disparities when paired with broader job quality efforts.
  5. Prosperity Now – Communicating on Race and Racial Equity. This resource provides guidance on language to help organizations more effectively communicate about racial economic equity. This document includes definitions of important terms and concepts for understanding racial economic equity, the racial wealth divide, and racial wealth equity as well as design guidelines on visually depicting diverse communities. This guide has relevance for a range of organizations interested in communicating about the important link between racial equity and job quality for those who want to advance racial equity.
  6. The University of Texas at Austin – Ray Marshall Center for the Study of Human Resources – Partnering for Equity: How Sector Partnerships are Tackling Workforce Disparities. This report details findings from a landscape scan that identified emerging trends and field-building opportunities for sector partnerships that are working to embed equity and reduce disparities. This can be a useful resource for workforce practitioners seeking to frame their work around equitable outcomes.
  7. Urban Institute – Racial Equity and Job Quality: Causes Behind Racial Disparities and Possibilities to Address Them. This research brief and landscape analysis focuses on pervasive racial disparities in elements of job quality (e.g., pay, health & safety, adequate hours) and some of the causes behind them. The authors pull together research on established laws, institutional practices, and cultural norms (e.g., occupational segregation, nonstandard work arrangements like the independent contractor classification, hiring discrimination) to create a cohesive narrative outlining how these structures have resulted in systemic disadvantages and discrimination for workers of color, particularly Black workers. These racial disparities not only persist today but were magnified during the ongoing COVID-19 and resulting racial reckoning. Individuals involved in work influencing policy decisions and institutional practices to improve labor market opportunities for workers of color may find this resource helpful.
  8. Women’s Fund of the Greater Cincinnati Foundation – Analysis of Black Women’s Historical Labor Trends & Systemic Barriers to Economic Mobility. This research report offers an overview of labor trends and systemic barriers to employment to contextualize Black women’s current economic and occupational status. The authors explore the history of Black women’s economic mobility; how occupational segregation, discrimination, and stereotypes impact Black women’s experiences in the labor market; and offer recommendations aimed at increasing economic equity. This resource may be of particular interest to individuals and organizations focused on learning about or addressing systemic barriers to race and gender equity in the labor market.