Thursday, December 10, 2009

Jobs and People of Color, What Can Policymakers Do?

The latest unemployment figures were encouraging, until you disaggreated by race. The overall rate may have dropped to 10% but for Blacks unemployment stands at 15.6% and for Latinos it is 12.6%. With one newspaper reporting that "Latinos and African-Americans in Massachusetts and across the country are facing high unemployment rates that could spiral to levels not seen in decades". But a new report from the Economic Policy Institute called "Getting Good Jobs to America's People of Color" lays out a bold, progressive agenda for creating jobs targeting those with the highest rates of unemployment. While making the case for improving access to education, among other strategies, the report also says "Good jobs should be available to workers at all educational levels. Many of the service sector jobs in the American economy do not require a high level of education. A good jobs agenda cannot leave the large number of workers in this big and growing sector of the economy behind." State policymakers can address this issue with policies to promote a strong job training agenda.

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