Unemployment of black men at ‘crisis’ level

Hillary Wicai Mar 8, 2007


SCOTT JAGOW: The employment statistics for African-American men in this country are pretty alarming. Today, Congress opens a hearing to try and get a grip on this problem. More now from Hillary Wicai in Washington.

HILLARY WICAI: Columbia Professor Ronald Mincy says among high school dropouts, more African-American men are incarcerated than are employed.

Mincy focuses on high school dropouts since fewer than half of young black men graduate.

He’ll tell Congress today that just 28 percent of black male dropouts have a job compared with 71 percent of white males with the same level of education.

RONALD MINCY: They are the fathers of a whole lot of children out there. So if we’re trying to think about the cost to society, this amounts to crisis proportions.

Another panelist will testify that training these young men now takes longer. Robert Carmona heads a non-profit workforce development agency in New York.

ROBERT CARMONA: Twenty years ago even the high school dropout was maybe reading at the 7th to 9th grade. Now you’re having people come at the 5th and 6th grade level.

Carmona says as Boomers retire a lot of union jobs will open, but many clients that come to his center lack the skills to pass the basic tradesmen tests.

In Washington, I’m Hillary Wicai for Marketplace.

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