Indeed, as NewsOne has previously reported, while there has been some progress, African Americans are still being hit hard by socioeconomic disparities. According to the National Urban League‘s 2013 “State Of Black America” address, in 1963, Black unemployment was at 10 percent; currently, it stands at 12.6 percent. Further, African Americans only make 90 cents on the dollar compared to White Americans in the private sector. Unfortunately, that number dropped to 88 cents per dollar in the public sector.
During the ’60s, the report says, there were five Black graduates for every one graduate. Today, 85 percent of African Americans finish high school today, compared with 25 percent in 1963. Since that year, the percentage of Blacks living in poverty has gone from 48 to 28 percent in 2013. Children of color have also benefited, with only 38 percent at the poverty line, compared with 57 percent in 1963.
Civil rights organizations and elected officials across the nation are working hard to develop plans to help put a dent in the Black unemployment rate. In Chicago, for example, the Chicago Urban League, announced a partnership with the Coca-Cola Foundation to prepare residents to enter the workforce and advance their careers last month. Coca-Cola presented the Urban League with a $50,000 grant to support its comprehensive “Success Strategies” program.
The 10-day training workshop equips individuals with skills to conduct job searches that ultimately lead to employment, according to a news release. The workshop helps participants create portfolios that include: cover letters, personal statements; mission statements; resumes, reference lists, and career assessments. After obtaining a job, individuals then move on to work with employment and job retention specialists.
“We are committed to training and developing the talent that is right here in our community to meet the needs of today’s workforce,” Andrea L. Zopp, president and CEO of the Chicago Urban League, said in the news release. “Our Workforce Development Department works strategically and persistently to help people navigate how to find a job and overcome obstacles that may impede on their success.”
To be sure, much more needs to be done to see a marked reduction in the Black unemployment rate.
“It’s abysmal,” Grado said of the Black youth and adult unemployment rates. “Much more needs to be done. We need to help the middle class and move part-time workers in to full-time jobs. We need to focus on employing people in the private sector. We need to create an economic environment that allows people to start their own businesses without burdensome regulations. We need to do all of this sooner rather than later. We are loosing a whole generation of workers.”
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