President Barack Obama has sent a bill to congress outlining the need to save and create new jobs in America and to help jump start the economy and put people back to work. I have not read the bill yet and will wait until later to do so, after our representatives start tearing it apart. I know something will come out of it but my concern is who will get the jobs at the local level once it passes and the money starts flowing. At that time democrats, republicans, and independents that don’t care for President Obama or government intervention gets Obama religion and seeks the money.
Since 2008 until now, we have printed over thirteen stories not including editorials on the stimulus funding and how African Americans were left out of jobs in the Inland Empire. And, this time around, something must be done to correct this problem. With the overall unemployment rate holding steady at 14.7% and somewhere between 18 and 20% for Blacks and our youth between ages 16 and 24 years old at 40 percent something has to be corrected.
It is incumbent upon every organization that cares about this injustice to have meetings with local elected officials ahead of time to identify problems and seek solutions early. I would also suggest meetings with local union leaders who supply workers at prevailing wages. I know the AFL/CIO Central Labor Council (CLC) of San Bernardino and Riverside, Laurie Stalkner would be more than happy to meet with interested organizations to discuss this issue. The CLC organization was founded to “give workers a voice” in the political process. I know because I once belonged to the United Steel Workers of America and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers of America. I was also an active member of A. Phillip Randolph Institute working with Albert Casey in San Bernardino.
After those meetings it would behoove these community organizations to seek out the unemployed and brief them on what is happening and prep them to be ready. As for youth, go to the schools and places where youth congregate and inform them as well for summer jobs. In my experience in handling the summer employment program at Kaiser Permanente in Fontana you can not wait until school is out to look for employment, start early.
Now I know from experience that people do not like to give up information because they want to reward their friends or family members when it comes to giving out jobs or contracts. So you will have to draw up a plan to make them include you. That is where knowing that these are federal funds and Prop 209 is out of the window and the Office Of Federal Contract Compliance kicks in to play. This is where a civil rights lawyer should be hired to file injunctions against any agency that denies or will not hire African Americans or give those contracts.
I mention contracts because according to the last American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Department, there were over six thousands Black owned businesses in Riverside and San Bernardino counties. Most of them are in the service industry but there were some in the trades and construction. The African American Chamber of Commerce and the NAACP should get busy and try to identify those contracts and also inform them on how to compete for contracts with the government. The Small Business Administration is a good agency to begin that task.
When you read articles written by Black Voice News reporter, Chris Levister, you understand that this is serious business reflecting the days of the civil rights movement. So let us get busy before the bill becomes law and if it does not we will be better off from gathering the information and knowing how the system works.
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