CSI Executive Director Presents at 2021 Southern California Economic Summit

On Thursday, Dec. 2, the Southern California Association of Governments (SCAG) hosted the 12th annual Southern California Economic Summit virtually, focusing on the theme “From Inclusive Recovery to Inclusive Growth.” 

The program featured the debut of new research and analysis on the state of the region’s economy, expert commentary on the issue of how to keep Southern California competitive, and a myriad of funding programs and innovative approaches to kickstarting inclusive economic growth. 

Included in the lineup was CSI Executive Director, Dr. Karthick Ramakrishnan, who is currently serving as the Equity Advisor for the entire SCAG region. The overall theme of Dr. Ramakrishnan’s presentation was that inequality is ultimately both socially and economically harmful. And while there is deep scholarship on this topic, this point is not always clearly defined in economic and workforce development spaces. 

Dr. Ramakrishnan also highlighted recent research that has shown the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on indicators like jobs and wages, which has exacerbated the existing inequities in the SCAG region. To read the full report click here (The State of Good Jobs in the Inland Empire). 

Dr. Ramakrishnan ended the presentation with both recommendations in terms of data and data collection and also offered up some frameworks that can help the region better conceptualize and quantify terms like equity and inclusion. Data recommendations included things like disaggregated data by race and gender whenever possible and creating certain visualizations. In terms of frameworks, he suggested utilizing CSI’s DNA (Data.Narrative.Action) framework to help further make the case for more attention and investment in racial equity in the region. In terms of being able to quantify concepts like equity and inclusion, Dr. Ramakrishnan suggested utilizing CSI’s Ready to RISE framework, which seeks to help quantify indicators including readiness, resilience, inclusion, sustainability, and equity. Our center looks forward to continuing to partner with SCAG and other organizations that seek to lift up equity and inclusion in our region.