Letitia Plummer redefines urban policy to grow the city’s economy, shape communities, and influence people’s lives.
Houston’s changing demographics have created a diverse and vibrant city that offers much potential to expand economic mobility. Instead, missed opportunities, lack of standards, and misappropriation of funding have created economic inequality, silos in communities and economic exclusion. As an owner of multiple businesses, and someone who has navigated the process, I have seen the challenges that new entrepreneurs face as well as the difficulties of small businesses struggling to thrive against larger enterprises. We create a more conducive business environment when we support the growth of our existing enterprises and help with the building of small businesses from the ground up.
We need to create innovative collaborations between large and small businesses so that they may mutually benefit from each other by working together. As a community volunteer, I have seen the effects of social and economic exclusion and the vicious cyclical effect it can have on underserved communities. Small businesses are the backbone of local communities, and that is why fostering entrepreneurship is essential for our city’s economic growth.
Since small companies offer opportunities to people who may traditionally not be employable by corporations, we need to collaborate with them to create an inclusive economy that offers apprenticeship opportunities, subsidized and transitional employment programs in our city’s highly gentrified areas. We need to build housing mobility and ensure that underserved communities, people of color and immigrant families have opportunities to live in communities that offer social and economic equity, as well as access to equitable health and transportation options.
Houston must offer to educate and continuously train its workforce so that our city develops and retains a highly skilled workforce and creates an attractive business climate. We must develop partnerships between any future and existing large-scale development projects and workforce development organizations to design training that addresses employment barriers so that underserved communities, immigrant communities and people of color have the same economic opportunities afforded to them. Our city’s economic prosperity, for all its residents, lies in supporting our businesses, creating a skilled workforce and ensuring that we focus on Transit Oriented Development. A strong and competitive economy can support the rebuilding of our infrastructure, as well as supporting programs that help to make homes affordable and programs that create inclusive communities.