BET Founder Bob Johnson Offers Obama Plan to Cut Black Unemployment

Dissecting a disparity that persists across education levels and occupations.

Backed by leading civil rights leaders, prominent African-American businessman Robert L. Johnson, Monday, renewed his call for President Obama to address the gaping employment gap that has long separated black and white workers.

Johnson, the billionaire chairman of the RLJ Companies and founder of Black Entertainment Television, said the disparity could be narrowed if Obama encouraged U.S. corporations to voluntarily embrace a plan to interview at least two qualified minority candidates for every job at the vice president level or above. He said companies should also interview two minority-owned firms for vendor supply and other contracts.

Johnson says he wants to help President Obama and the White House fix the black unemployment problem in America, but he’s not so sure that they want to do the same.

Johnson says he approached the Obama Administration with a plan that would have the president encourage U.S. corporations to interview at least two qualified minority candidates for every job at the vice president level or above. Similar to the NFL’s “Rooney Rule” that makes it mandatory that teams interview at least two minorities for head coaching and general manager positions.

That was last December.

A year later, Johnson reveals that after following up with the White House, the effort “fizzled out.”

“We are never going to close this gap unless there is a conscious commitment to do so,” said Johnson in an interview.

In response to Johnson’s remarks, the White House released a statement saying, “President Obama is deeply committed to growing our economy from the middle out by ensuring a strong, secure, and thriving middle-class and ensuring that everyone has a fair shot, a fair shake and plays by the same set of rules.”

ACROSS THE WEB
  • http://www.facebook.com/tom.handy1 Tom Handy

    After reading through Black Enterprise, I thought there were more Blacks rising up to higher levels of leadership. I think its only time before there will be more CEOs, Presidents running companies.

  • dsjj251

    The Rooney Rule worked because it was simple math, African americans now make up more than half of all NFL players, and about 30% of coaches.

    This would not be the same in corporate America. I remember reading an article a while back that said only about 6% of all Business degree graduates are black.

    the better option is to go after education. African Americans have a higher drop out rate in both high school and college. That needs to go down, Even if that means only graduating to go into a technical program at a community college, it is still better than nothing.

  • Pingback: A Black Conservative and A Black Liberal on Black Unemployment | Asylum Watch

  • Pingback: BET Founder Bob Johnson Offers Obama Plan to Cut Black Unemployment | Atlanta Daily World