Open enrollment for Portland Means Progress initiative

Prosper Portland to begin broad company enrollment

Press release
Posted on

Portland Means Progress, a city-wide initiative that began with 50 early adopter businesses in March 2019, is now open for broad company enrollment. Portland Means Progress provides connections for businesses to hire local underrepresented students and young professionals of color, purchase from local businesses owned by people of color, and create diverse and vibrant workforce and company cultures. The goal is to connect businesses to existing programming that supports social impact, creating a pipeline for private-sector engagement.

Portland Means Progress companies commit to paying a living wage of $15 or more per hour and taking at least one of the following actions:

  • Provide Work Experience opportunities for underrepresented youth and young professionals of color
  • Support local businesses owned by People of Color through Intentional Purchasing
  • Create Culture Change through Diversity, Equity & Inclusion training

Over the past year, the early adopter businesses have informed the initiative through their own experiences and challenges. Actions among the early adopter businesses include:

  • One Mercatus business reported that they had their single largest order ever through a Portland Means Progress business’s intentional purchasing, and they now have an ongoing retail presence with that business.
  • One youth worker was hired part time through Connect2Careers, and later the Early Adopter business increased their hours to make the position full time. 
  • One Early Adopter business reported that they shifted all their business meetings to take place at local venues, restaurants and coffee shops owned by People of Color. 
  • Sixteen businesses engaged in the development of the Culture Change action, which will roll out in March of this year. 
  • Early Adopter businesses provided 53 work experience opportunities through Worksystems, Inc., Emerging Leaders, and internal internship programs in 2019.
  • 34 percent of Early Adopter businesses are committed to host Emerging Leaders interns in 2020.
  • 80 percent of Early Adopter businesses have already recommitted to the initiative for 2020

“We invite more businesses to partner with us to help us achieve our goal of creating shared economic prosperity across the City of Portland,” Mayor Ted Wheeler said.

On Tuesday, March 10, the public is invited to the Portland Means Progress Racial Equity Culture Change Road Map Roll-Out from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m. at Neyborly @ Old Town, 205 NW 4th Ave, Portland, OR 97209.  The event will offer best practices to move from caring to doing, and an opportunity to meet the equity practitioners who collaborated on and will introduce the Road Map to help businesses get started on company culture change and diversity, equity and inclusion initiatives, one of the three actions of Portland Means Progress.

The Mayor’s Council of Economic Advisors identified the initial actions of Portland Means Progress. The project sponsors are the City of Portland, Prosper Portland, and Worksystems, Inc., in partnership with the Asian Pacific American Chamber of Commerce, Black American Chamber of Commerce, Business for a Better Portland, Greater Portland, Inc., Hispanic Metropolitan Chamber, Oregon Association of Minority Entrepreneurs, Oregon Native American Chamber, Philippine American Chamber of Commerce of Oregon, Portland Business Alliance, Technology Association of Oregon, and Travel Portland.

Members of the media, if you’re interested in talking with a business who is a part of Portland Means Progress, please just let me know. We’d be happy to facilitate.



Tim Becker
Public Information Officer

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