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On Labor Day, Celebrate the Importance of #OneJob


For many of us, Labor Day marks the end of summer. It’s the last chance to go on a weekend getaway or indulge in a neighborhood BBQ. It serves as a time when many of us hit the reset button and get back to work, school and other obligations.

Often lost in the midst of the festivities is the reason we celebrate Labor Day—the fact that there are more than 155 million people in the U.S. labor force that work tirelessly day-in and day-out. A national holiday since 1894, Labor Day is the official celebration of the American labor movement and the social and economic achievements made by its workers.

As we think about Labor Day this upcoming weekend, the importance of well-paying jobs is as significant as ever, especially to inner city communities. At ICIC, we recognize the role that inner city businesses play as job creators.  We work with many high-growth businesses that are transforming their inner city communities through the jobs and economic opportunities they generate.  The Inner City 100 award winners alone have created more than 81,000 new jobs in the past sixteen years.

While the quantity of jobs created by Inner City 100 firms is impressive, it’s the quality of these jobs that truly stands out. Among the 2014 Inner City 100 winners, more than 75% of firms provide workers with health insurance benefits.  In addition, these firms are providing well-paying jobs, compensating non-senior management with an average annual salary of $59,000.

There’s an “expectation that – companies in the inner city – you’re not going to be competitive – your workforce is not as talented,” says Inner City Capital Connections (ICCC) participant Darryl Smith, CEO and Co-Founder of Premier Logitech.  “If you set high expectations, people will rise to them. You can perform well if you set the right expectations.”  Indeed, some firms find the inner city a competitive advantage in terms of finding the best talent.  Of the 2014 Inner City 100 winners in Software and IT, 80% say their inner city location both helps attract and retain employees.

Our research shows that capital access is a contributing factor of the success to inner city entrepreneurs, and ICCC firms have collectively raised over $1billion in capital.  It’s no wonder then, that companies participating in the ICCC program have an average annual job growth rate of 25%. In spite of lingering concerns about the overall strength of the economy, more than 75% of 2013 ICCC firms planned to hire this year.

What’s more, many of these high-quality positions are filled by inner city residents. The impact of “one job” for the American worker cannot be understated.

“This job means everything to me. I was able to purchase my first home. I started filing. Now I’m leading the digital department,” says Gabriela Martin Del Campo of El Clasificado, a Los Angeles-based Inner City 100 winner. During the Great Recession, while some residents were being forced from their homes, one job helped Gabriela put down roots in her community.

Stories like Gabriela’s show that creating one job can bring sustainability to an individual and a family. Creating one job can give a sense of hope to a community. ICIC firms are creating these jobs for inner city residents. Together, these jobs are strengthening our inner city economies.

This Labor Day, we join in celebrating the American worker, #onejob at a time. Share with us on Twitter (@icicorg) what #onejob means to you.


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