Jul 26, 2021 - Business

Denver prioritizes equity in economic recovery plans

A photo of the mayor speaking at a press conference

Denver Mayor Michael Hancock during a press conference on July 14. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Mayor Michael Hancock is placing equity at the center of Denver's post-pandemic recovery.

Why it matters: The pandemic has disproportionately impacted vulnerable Denverites and Americans alike, particularly women, low-income residents and people of color.

  • Leveling the playing field will help ensure those populations have opportunities to bounce back as quickly as their higher-income, white neighbors do.

Driving the news: In an interview after the annual State of the City address, Hancock told Axios that the $450 million infrastructure bond package he is proposing, which includes a 10,000-seat arena, would ensure equity by stimulating the economy and promoting job growth.

  • "No industry creates and sustains jobs better than the construction industry," he said.

Details: In the address, Hancock outlined plans to prioritize those hit hardest economically by deploying $21 million from the American Rescue Plan. The funds will support local businesses and nonprofits and provide families in need with child care, food assistance and broadband internet service.

  • The mayor is establishing a new fund to support minority- and women-owned marijuana businesses to boost business opportunities in an industry dominated by white males.
  • The goal is to eventually build a fund of $50 million, he said.
  • The Hancock administration will also invest in ongoing workforce development efforts, including leveraging local, state and federal funds to serve more than 20,000 residents with support such as skills training and job placement. (The mayor could not immediately say how much this would cost.)

Of note: Hancock also announced another new workforce training program at the historic Mt. Morrison Civilian Conservation Corp camp near Red Rocks Amphitheater.

  • The Workforce Historic Preservation Training Program will train young adults interested in entering the construction and preservation fields.

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