Long term unemployment and preparation for 21st century careers remains a key impediment to U.S. economic recovery. In urban American this problem is particularly acute as African Americans continue to suffer from a 2-to-1 unemployment gap—which is virtually unchanged since the height of the civil rights movement in 1963. Government and community-based organizations must and will play an important role in addressing these challenges moving forward. However the ever-diminishing role and scope of government—just when it is needed most—has left fewer resources available for investment in workforce and economic development.
With the private sector well on the road to recovery, it is clear that any meaningful and sustainable solution to the chronic, structural barriers to the health of urban economies must include input from private enterprise.
The National Urban League Washington Bureau created the Urban Solutions Council in 2013 to explore these seeming intractable problems in urban America and leverage the best thinking of our corporate partners, our own research and the real-life insights we gain from our affiliate service providers on the ground to identify policy platforms that are grounded in business practicalities.
The Urban Solutions Council meets regularly to hear from policy experts in key areas and discuss the implications of policy developments on business engagement in the community. The Council’s activities include the convening of the Urban Ideas Forum. The Forum brings together our corporate partners, academics, the non-profit community and community-based organizations to elevate the solutions developed by the Council and to shape the thinking of policy makers and stakeholders around innovative responses to the urban jobs and investment crisis.