Economic Perspectives with Hopeton Hay on KAZI 88.7 FM in Austin, TX

Austin Urban League CEO to Discuss State of Black America on Economic Perspectives April 5

Posted by Hopeton on March 31, 2010

Jeffrey Richard, President and CEO of the Austin Area Urban League will discuss the National Urban League’s report on the State of Black America on the April 5 edition of Economic Perspectives, 5:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. central time  on KAZI 88.7 FMListen live online at kazifm.org.  Enclosed below is an overview on the State of Black America report provided by the press office of the National Urban League.

Jeffrey Richard

With black unemployment numbers nearly double that of whites, the National Urban League’s State of Black America report shows that the ravages of the recession are impacting minorities much worse than the rest of the nation. The solution to this crisis is getting jobs to people in these communities and the Urban League is encouraging the nation’s leaders to act swiftly and support a $168 billion plan it has to generate jobs to make sure no one is left behind or left out of economic recovery efforts.

“These are tough times in America and they require a powerful and immediate response,” said Marc H. Morial, National Urban League president and CEO. “The government has bailed out Wall Street. It’s time to act swiftly and do something for Main Street, which includes a strong, focused jobs plan. There can be no true economic recovery in this country without addressing the dire jobs situation in urban America.”

The report coincides with the National Urban League’s Centennial initiative, “I AM EMPOWERED,” which includes a goal for the nation to achieve access for every American to a quality job with a living wage and good benefits by 2025.

For the first time the State of Black America report, which measures disparities between blacks and whites in areas of economics, education, health, civic engagement and social justice, includes a Hispanic index.  While they still lag behind, with an overall Equality Index of 75.5 percent, Hispanics are faring better than blacks, whose overall Equality Index was 71.8 percent.

Unemployment numbers in the report are most troubling.  Black unemployment was14.8 percent in 2009, compared to 8.5 percent for whites. Hispanic unemployment was 12.1 percent.  These numbers are significant as the lack of jobs means less opportunity for home ownership, less access to healthcare and fewer minorities engaging in post secondary education.  In many of the categories in the report, blacks either made no progress or lost ground.  Small gains made in median household income decreased in this year’s report falling to 62 percent from 65 percent. Less than half of black and Hispanic families owned homes and both were more than three times as likely as whites to live below the poverty line.  The report also shows a big difference in 2009 real median household income between whites and minorities. Real median income for whites was $34,218 for blacks, $37, 913 for Hispanics and $55,530 for whites.  In education, whites over the age of 25 were more than one and a half times as likely as blacks and two and a half times as likely as Hispanics to hold a bachelor’s degree.

“The recession eliminated any chances of making real progress over the last decade,” said Valerie Rawlston Wilson, vice president of research at the Urban League’s Policy Institute. “With a decade that has been defined by a record of zero net job growth, falling incomes and declining net worth, the State of Black America report accurately puts the focus on jobs as a solution to this crisis.”

The National Urban League proposes its Plan for Creating Jobs as a solution to the jobs crisis in urban communities.  It’s a comprehensive six-point plan to make a direct investment of $168 billion over two years to address the most urgent needs of American families in economic crisis by investing in direct job creation, job training for the chronically unemployed, greater access to credit for small businesses and additional counseling relief for those caught in the backlog of the foreclosure process. The plan also suggests tax incentives for clean energy equipment manufacturers who employ individuals in the targeted communities. More specifically the six points call for:  direct funding for job creation, expansion of the Small Business Administration’s Community Express Loan Program, creation of green empowerment zones, expansion of housing counselors nationwide, expansion of the Youth Summer Jobs Program and the creation of 100 urban job academies.

Experts and leaders offer further solutions to bringing jobs to urban America with insightful essays that focus on such topics as the importance of green jobs to economic recovery in minority communities, job opportunities through broadband access; job creation through small business assistance, job training through volunteering and education as a pathway to jobs with livable wages.  Authors include U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis, Philadelphia Urban League President Patricia Coulter and Urban League Young Professionals President Barton Taylor.

The Plan for Creating Jobs is another initiative by the National Urban League in the year of its 100th anniversary to build on its legacy of bringing economic opportunity and equality to minority communities.  Through its nearly 100 affiliates, the Urban League continues to be successful in providing job training and job placement programs in communities across the country. The League has held a green jobs summit to prepare for the new green economy, met with President Obama and other civil rights leaders to discuss specific plans of action for the jobs crisis and launched the I AM EMPOWERED initiative. One of the goals of the Urban League’s I AM EMPOWERED initiative is that every American has a job with a livable wage and benefits by 2025.  At www.iamempowered.com people can take the I AM EMPOWERED pledge to commit to this and other goals in education, healthcare and housing.  They also can get information about jobs programs at local affiliates and through social mobilization technology engage in real time discussions with people all over the world about the jobs crisis and how to fix it.

“We are not a think tank or a talk tank but a do tank,” Morial said.  “As a civil rights organization we have always been about bringing economic opportunities to the communities that we serve. And as we celebrate 100 years of service we will remain steadfast in that commitment.”

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