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Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues


Kenan Institute 2022 Annual Theme: Stakeholder Capitalism
Market-Based Solutions to Vital Economic Issues

workforce development


If companies are going to provide equitable advancement opportunities for remote and hybrid workers, managers must be mindful and leaders must lead, say Jami Stewart of Cisco Systems Inc. and Jes Averhart of Jes & Co., speakers at a recent discussion hosted by the Kenan Institute-affiliated UNC Entrepreneurship Center and the Research Triangle Foundation. Also: A company’s commitment to social impact can be a key to adding and keeping talented young employees.

Stakeholder Capitalism

Pete Stavros of KKR & Co. founded Ownership Works, a new initiative backed by 19 private equity firms, with the objective of reducing income inequality by increasing employee share ownership. The group has prominent backers and a lofty goal of creating $20 billion in wealth in 10 years. As a researcher who has worked on employee share ownership and the benefits it can create, I was encouraged by the news. But while I broadly support employee ownership, such initiatives also can raise red flags because of the risk they impose on employees. As such, it is worthwhile to think carefully through what we know and don’t know about such programs.

Chief Economist Gerald Cohen joined N.C. Commerce Secretary Machelle Baker Sanders and UNC Associate Professor Erin Fraher, deputy director of the Sheps Center for Health Services Research, on Wednesday for an ncIMPACT Virtual Town Hall with host Anita Brown-Graham. The panelists discussed which sectors have been hit by worker shortages particularly hard and where the talent to fill those positions will come from.

Chief Economist Gerald Cohen will be a panelist for an ncIMPACT Virtual Town Hall on workforce shortages in the state that will be livestreamed at 11 a.m. Wednesday, May 4 on Facebook Live.

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Professor Paige Ouimet was featured on the Friday, April 22, broadcast of “ncIMPACT” on PBS NC. The episode, “Working for a Living Wage,” is now available for streaming and will be rebroadcast on PBS NC at 1:30 a.m. and 5 p.m. Tuesday, April 26.

On Tuesday, March 29th, First Citizens Bank Vice Chairwoman Hope Bryant joined UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Dean Doug Shackelford for a fireside chat. Bryant discussed the history of First Citizens Bank, the impacts of COVID-19 on the workforce and her experiences as a woman in a leadership position.

On Wednesday, Feb. 16, Worthington Industries President and Chief Executive Officer Andrew Rose joined UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School Dean Doug Shackelford for a fireside chat. Rose discussed the impacts of COVID-19 and the economy on the manufacturing industry and gave advice to students about to enter today's workforce.

Please join us for an exclusive conversation with Worthington Industries President and Chief Executive Officer, Andrew Rose on Wednesday, February 16. This discussion is part of the Dean’s Speaker Series, hosted by Kenan-Flagler Business School Dean Doug Shackelford.

Stakeholder Capitalism

Greater focus on social justice has brought systemic inequities in the corporate sector to light, leading companies to step up their efforts in attracting and retaining a diverse workforce – but many challenges remain in implementing those goals. Following a joint report between the Kenan Institute and EY, this week’s Kenan Insight breaks down some challenges companies may face while trying to reach their diversity, equity and inclusion goals.

Toyota announced a plan to build its first North American battery manufacturing plant in Randolph County, North Carolina — a $1.272 billion project that’s expected to bring up to 3,000 jobs – in 2025. Kenan Institute Chief Economist Gerald Cohen said the investment will be beneficial for the region and state, citing the “network effects” these types of facilities can create.

The COVID-19 pandemic increased economic inequities in a number of ways, including in access to external capital – and while 2020 marked a break-out year for venture-backed firms, the pandemic hit many main street businesses hard. In this Kenan Insight, we explore the forces driving the haves and have-nots in this new economic climate, as well as actionable policy solutions as government support programs wind down.

As the U.S. economy begins to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and businesses grapple with ongoing labor shortages, the debate around increasing the federal minimum wage – which hasn’t budged in over a decade – has returned to the fore. In this Kenan Insight, we examine whether now is the right time to raise the standard minimum, why these benefits may come at a cost, and what approach might work best given the inevitable tradeoffs.