Marty believes income and wealth inequality are the biggest economic challenges facing our nation. They reflect decades of unjust systems which create unequal opportunities. What’s more, they have negative impacts on our collective economic health and future. To create a more fair economy, Marty is using all the tools at a mayor’s disposal–from education, to job training, from affordable housing to equitable planning — and inventing some new ones as well.
Marty believes a mayor’s greatest ability to reduce inequality is by fostering economic mobility: providing tools and tearing down barriers so that everyone has a chance to build skills, careers, income, and wealth. This will allow for all Bostonians to reach their dreams and provide for their families right here in the city.
- Elevating economic mobility as a policy objective. Early in his administration, Mayor Walsh established an Office of Workforce Development that uses development fees to bring the tools of economic mobility to low-income Bostonians. He then created an Office of Financial Empowerment to bring wealth and credit building tools to low-income Bostonians.
- Leading the national conversation on inequality. Marty served as founding vice-chair of the Cities of Opportunity Task Force, a group of U.S. mayors who share ideas and lobby Washington to keep the national focus on reducing inequality.
- Putting upward mobility at the heart of economic development policy. Mayor Walsh released an Economic Inclusion and Equity Agenda, which is at the heart of economic development policy, advancing four major themes: 1) income and employment, 2) wealth creation, 3) business development, and 4) economic mobility.
- Supporting parents of young children. Partnered with the Black Philanthropy Fund and the Achievement Gap Initiative at Harvard on The Boston Basics, a program that gives parents and caregivers of children from birth to age three the parenting tools their kids need to thrive.
- Creating pathways to college and career success. Piloted Boston Saves, a program that provides college and job training savings accounts to 5-year-olds in the Boston Public Schools. Eleven schools are currently participating, with each student getting a seeded savings account. Implementation to all K2 students is in the works.
- Securing free community college for Boston high school graduates. Partnered with Bunker Hill, Roxbury, and Massachusetts Bay Community Colleges on free tuition for low-income Boston students. Marty also worked with the state on The Boston Bridge, so these students can transfer to a four-year state college and continue toward a tuition-free bachelor’s degree.
- Expand this work through a comprehensive Economic Mobility Agenda. By developing and connecting existing programs, and creating new ones, Marty’s goal for Boston is a more seamless economic mobility system that can help individuals and families overcome the specific barriers posed by systemic inequality.
- Create an Economic Mobility Innovation Lab in the Mayor’s Office, devoted to finding new solutions to the challenges of inequality. This lab will operate on the principle that no one family needs the exact same supports, and we will collect and analyze data to better employ uniquely tailored interventions.
- Build on national partnerships and increase national awareness. As a member of the leadership team of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, Mayor Walsh will increase city-to-city collaboration and national attention on reducing inequality and increasing mobility.
- Grow good jobs and affordable housing together in Boston’s lower-income neighborhoods. Imagine Boston 2030, Mayor Walsh’s citywide plan, is focused on growing good jobs that are accessible to low-income Bostonians.