Blueprint for Success
The essay “Putting Americans Back to Work,” by Morial, Valerie Rawlston Wilson, Cy Richardson, and Terry Clark, highlights a plan that calls for an interest rate reduction to 1% for loans provided through the Small Business Administration’s Community Express loan program to businesses in areas where the local unemployment rate exceeds the state average. The National Urban League estimates that this would make credit available to an additional 50,000 small businesses nationwide.
The workforce plan also calls for a $5-7 billion investment in youth summer jobs and the development of green empowerment zones in areas where at least 50% of the population is experiencing an unemployment rate that is higher than the state average. “We’re also calling for a direct job creation program where money would be given to cities and communities to hire people. That’s very important, and we recommend a very significant program to put three million people to work,” said Morial.
Summer jobs for teens and young adults are among the organization’s top priorities, he added, because their unemployment rates have climbed almost to 50%. “Many of them need the money to survive. Their parents aren’t working and they need money for clothing, food, and expenses,” Morial said. “It also teaches young people a work ethic that’s a very important part of their education and upbringing.”
The essay “Broadband Matters to All of Us,” by Rey Ramsey, stresses the need for wider adoption of broadband in black communities.
“[Broadband is]s changing our lives, and African Americans lag behind whites when it comes to having a computer at home or access to broadband,” said Morial. “But if you’re disconnected from computers, you’re also disconnected from the information that you need to advance yourself and your family,” such as job applications, mortgage information, and college and scholarship applications.
Morial hopes people will take consider the recommendations included in the report and then urge President Barack Obama and Congress to also consider them.
“We’re working very closely with the Congressional Black Caucus and a wide range of other lawmakers on a variety of measures,” Morial said. “We want people to support our jobs plan because we want Congress to enact it.”
The overall Equality Index is a weighted average of indices calculated for each of the five sub-categories—economics, health, education, social justice and civic engagement, according to the NUL’s methodology.