African American Community Development

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African American unemployment crisis requires federal intervention


In a new Economic Policy Institute report, “A Jobs-Centered Approach to African American Community Development,” Algernon Austin, director of the Race, Ethnicity and the Economy program, explains that jobs are essential to improving African American communities. The report identifies jobs as the backbone of community development and outlines a plan for the federal government to ameliorate joblessness within Black communities. The plan has three components: the creation of public sector jobs, job training with job placement programs, and wage subsidies for employers. “Our economy should be one in which everyone who wants to work can find a job, but this goal has been elusive for African Americans in good times and bad,” said Austin. “A concerted national program is needed to reduce racial disparities that leave African Americans twice as likely as Whites to be unemployed.”

The report concludes that federal intervention to aid Black community development is necessary for the following reasons:

African Americans still reside mainly in separate and unequal communities. In 2010, in the 100 metropolitan areas with the largest African American populations, 62.5 percent of African Americans would have had to move to achieve full African American-White integration. Continue Reading →

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