Multiple factors have contributed to the median family income for Arapahoe County’s Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino communities growing significantly faster than the national average between 2014 and 2019. This is the conclusion of a report produced by the Arapahoe/Douglas Works! (A/D Works!) workforce development center.
The median income for Black/African American families in Arapahoe County increased by 39.5% between 2014 and 2019, compared to a 24.8% increase for all families in the County and an 18.1% increase for all families nationally. Similarly, median income for Hispanic families in Arapahoe County increased by 41.7% during the same period, compared to 24.2% nationally. Arapahoe County also has led the way in reducing disparities in median income for Black/African American families and Hispanic/Latino families, by 7.3% and 8.0% over the six-year period, respectively.
Arapahoe County is the only county in Colorado that has seen such a significant median income improvement among Black/African American families, and one of 35 nationwide. Although median family income generally rose across the board in all five major metro Denver counties, and nationally, Arapahoe County’s increases significantly outpaced them.
These gains appear to have been achieved thanks to multiple factors. The area covered by A/D Works! (Arapahoe and Douglas counties) has a unique diversity, education and skill mix among job seekers that matched demand for labor throughout the region, with wage and salary growth driven by a relative scarcity of labor supply during a broad period of economic growth.
A/D Works! is home to many outstanding training opportunities and offers a variety of programs that can provide the ‘hand-up’ people need to advance their economic positions. For example, in the most recent program year ending June 30, 2021, individuals who used A/D Works! in their job search earned an average of $3,405 more annually than those who did not – a wage outcome directly attributable to the value of services provided to job seekers and local businesses through our workforce center. During the period of this median family income rise, A/D Works! Worked with participating businesses to help 11,572 people obtain permanent employment.
In addition, Arapahoe County is home to two major community colleges that offer outstanding career-focused programming, and local K-12 public school districts all collaborate with key industries in the region, preparing students for entry into a variety of high-demand occupations in aerospace and aviation, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, skilled trades, advanced technology, and more.
Economic development groups throughout the region also collaborate with area chambers, local governments, workforce development programs, and educators to provide the maximum support to businesses and job seekers. This likely contributed significantly to the rapid gains in median income for Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino families for Arapahoe County.
“A/D Works! takes a unique approach to carefully understanding the needs of local business and providing the training resources needed to develop a talent pipeline that will match those needs,” said Arapahoe County Board Chair Nancy Jackson. “This benefits job seekers by helping them learn or improve high-demand skills and be thoughtfully matched with higher wage-earning opportunities that fit their skill sets.”
For more information about our many workforce development options and partnerships, visit ADWorks.org.