Economic Competitiveness and Inclusion

Ramsey County will build and implement strategies that advance economic competitiveness and inclusiveness creating greater prosperity and opportunity for all.

Why this is a priority

Ramsey County Community & Economic Development and partners are currently leading the Economic Competitiveness and Inclusion Plan, which will identify a vision and implementation for strategic investments to create opportunities for all residents to prosper. The focus on competitiveness is that our region can prosper from increased investment if we invest strategically and equitably in our residents and businesses.

Racial disparities in employment, educational attainment, income and housing currently hold Ramsey County residents back in the regional economy. Full participation by all residents will create wealth, expand the talent pool and increase wellbeing. Residents’ incomes must grow through living wage jobs and stable employment. Ramsey County will focus on four cross-sector workgroups: 1) Housing Development and Affordability, 2) Community Investment and Wealth Building, 3) Jobs and Industry Growth, and 4) Strengthening Place-Based Assets, including transit and commercial corridors.

Building on previous work and lessons learned

Economic prosperity is best achieved through a strong, collaborative approach. Continued engagement with cities, partner agencies, community organizations, businesses and residents will be essential in developing and implementing this work. Beyond the vision plan, the Community & Economic Development department also expanded its programming in 2019 to include the economic development platform, RamseyCountyMeansBusiness.com, the Corridor Revitalization Program and Open to Business. These programs are budgeted to continue through 2021 in serving residents countywide.

Ensure racial equity and shared power with community is applied

Significant and persistent racial disparities exist between income levels of Ramsey County residents; residents of color make considerably less than their white neighbors. Because of these disparities, racial equity is  at the center of the Economic Competitiveness and Inclusion Plan. The Plan will map the history of redlining in Ramsey County and develop strategies to build wealth in terms of both residential and commercial real estate opportunities. All recommendations coming out of the Plan’s Community Investment and Wealth Building workgroup, specifically, will keenly focus on eliminating disparities in employment, educational attainment and income through investment in low-income people and communities of color. Additionally, Workforce Solutions and the Workforce Innovation Board (WIB) are a big partner in developing and brainstorming innovative workforce and career pathways for residents. Internally, Ramsey County will be working to track minority workforce inclusion and support construction pathways for people of color in our community. Lastly, the Plan has a strong emphasis in assessing the role of the county in housing affordability and affordable housing. The goal is intended to strategically align future resources to help alleviate the crisis in accessing affordable housing that disproportionately affects communities of color.