Urban League Report Offers Solutions to Economic Crisis

'State of Black America' details plan to offset effects of recession

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.

Related Reading

National Urban League 2009 Report Finds Blacks Continue to Lag

State of Black America: Wealth for Life

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  • I enjoyed the essay, “Putting Americans Back to Work,” by Morial. I think times are tough for everyone, black or white. Segregation of political focus towards need is a sad position for any American. I think everyone needs help. I think our education system is a primary oversight for many politicians. I’ve long since graduated from college but understand the need that many schools are being pressured with financially. Economics are the new deciding factor as to whether teachers, my friends, get to keep their jobs. It is the factor if my friend’s children get new books or computers and many teachers are working with outdated or broken equipment. If broadband is a primary focus for Morial getting this type of equipment into schools and libraries, verse homes, should be a top priority and one that I could support. If people want to find computers and can’t afford them libraries, coffee shops and Apple stores are always an option. Many corporations are stepping up to the plate to fill in the gaps where the governments misappropriated funds are not covering schools. Like teachers with broken chairs, needing new equipment and just money donations in general. Two great examples are OfficeMax and Borders. This is teacher’s appreciation week at Borders, again I’m not a teacher but love the book store and noticed this when I walked in, plus they announced it over 10 times while I was drinking my coffee, and again I saw it in their monthly email newsletter. I would also like to note that while many urban african Americans may be with out computers or internet in their homes, many more white American’s are unable to receive it in their homes because they live in rural areas where cable doesn’t reach, is too expensive to get, and the cheapest satellite is $600 to install and $200+/month to keep and the service coverage is beyond shitty.

  • samuel toston

    should our economy improve our people will be last to be hired.as per usual foreigners will occupy those jobs.since most positions will likely require tech.trainng we have not had we will as usual be excluded.our ability to sieze opportunities has long laggged.most of our youth are being prepared innon-existing careers.how i wish we would get serious about vivable careers.