As baby boomers retire over the coming decades, one of the big questions facing the American economy is whether the younger, more diverse generation will be prepared to fill the demands of the workforce. In the next Brookings Essay, Jennifer Bradley, founding director of the new Aspen Institute Center on Urban Innovation and a former Brookings fellow, examines the efforts of several organizations in the traditionally lily-white” Twin Cities of Minnesota to close the persistent education and employment gaps facing its rapidly growing population of people of color. By the year 2044, people of color will account for a majority of the U.S. population, but now is the time for the public and private sectors to close the racial gaps in education and employment. As Europe and countries like Japan face declines in their working-age populations, the population growth among people of color has the potential to give the U.S. a competitive advantage in the 21st century. THE BROOKINGS ESSAY: In the spirit of its commitment to high-quality, independent research, the Brookings Institution has commissioned works on major topics of public policy by distinguished authors, including Brookings scholars. The Brookings Essay is a multi-platform product aimed to engage readers in open dialogue and debate. The views expressed, however, are solely those of the author. Available in ebook only.