The National Urban League (NUL) projects it will take $150 million to adequately address the issue of Black unemployment in America.
That is the finding released as part of the NUL’s 34th annual State of Black America (SOBA) report last week.
According to Valerie Wilson, vice president of research at the Urban League, this plan is not a first for the 100-year-old civil rights organization.
“It may be a first in terms of having something specific; and specifically talking about a plan to create jobs. In previous editions, we always presented policy recommendations. This issue we focused on jobs.”
The National Urban League has created a six-point plan to create jobs. These include offering financial support to entities that provide critical services; expand and expedite the Small Business Administration’s Community Express Loan Program; create green empowerment zones which will make manufacturers of wind turbines and solar panels eligible for tax write-offs if they hire and maintain for at least three years at least half of their employees locally, expand the hiring of housing counselors nationwide, expand youth summer jobs programs and create urban job academies, which consists of the creating and expanding of the Urban Youth Employment Program.
NUL is beginning to see a response to their idea for other civil rights groups, community ac activists and even in Congress, Wilson said.
“Congressman (George) Miller is talking bout job creation. He has a large component of direct job creation in the proposal he introduced (the Local Jobs for America Act), and many other groups are concerned about the chronic unemployed issues we face in the African American and Hispanic communities,” explained Wilson, adding the Congressman Bobby Rush has also introduce legislation to address the issue of summer youth employment and getting funding to small businesses.
In addition to the job plan, the new Urban League SOBA report for the first time has included measurements that look at the situation of Hispanics.
“We did for a number of reasons,” explained Wilson, noting that people for years have asked why other ethnic groups were not included. “First we recognized that 2010 is a census year, and know that the demographics of the nation are shift, and that by the middle of the century, 40 to 50 percent of the populations is expected to be non White, we realized its important to expand the discussion of inequality to at least the two largest minorities groups in the country–African Americans and Hispanics.
Many of the local affiliates are serving a significant numbers of African Americans but also Latinos as well, so this is a relevant population group for the Urban League,” Wilson explained.
The SOBA report featured the 2010 Equality Index(TM) which found that overall Blacks are 71.8 percent equal to Whites. Using similar categories (where statistics were available), the report found that the Hispanic equality index compared to Whites was 7.5 percent.
Wilson said these facts are used by the NUL, when they go to elected federal officials to advocate for their issues, and individuals can use them when talked with their own local politicians about issues.
City News Service contributed to this story.