ncome and wealth inequality, exploitative working conditions and displacement are critical issues faced by communities across the country. These challenges require strategies that create both stable employment and access to opportunities for building assets. Local governments have traditionally invested in the dual pathways of entrepreneurship and workforce development to address these issues. Employee ownership of businesses is one approach for creating and preserving jobs with dignity and opportunities for wealth building.
While some cities are beginning to explore employee ownership as a tool for equitable growth, the strategy is largely underrecognized within the economic development sphere. To help cities and city leaders understand how to create and support pathways to democratic employee ownership for communities most affected by social and economic inequality, the National League of Cities (NLC) and the Democracy at Work Institute (DAWI) launched the Shared Equity in Economic Development (SEED) Fellowshipprogram in June. This program responds to the growing interest of cities about this topic.