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Abstract

Commonwealth Compact is a statewide initiative of the University of Massachusetts Boston launched in 2008 with a primary focus of promoting diversity—especially racial and ethnic diversity—in the workplace. In addition to conducting workshops, sponsoring forums, and creating job placement tools, Commonwealth Compact has conducted research, which is the central focus of this article.

Three rounds of Benchmarks reports, using data from 2007, 2008, and 2011, showed that the reporting Massachusetts employers generally weathered the recession fairly well but that efforts to improve racial diversity lagged far behind those for gender diversity.

Data from two national surveys, produced for Commonwealth Compact in 2010 and 2013, support the widespread belief that Americans generally, and African Americans particularly, see Boston and Massachusetts as being less welcoming than other cities to persons of color. The data suggest strongly that the region could benefit greatly if that reputation could be turned around.

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