To achieve economic equality, the National Urban League advances policies that will close the existing racial gaps in employment, income and wealth. Employment remains the biggest barrier, where the roughly two-to-one unemployment rate gap between blacks and whites has persisted since the government first began reporting unemployment statistics by race, and exists at all levels of education and in all regions of the country.
To achieve economic equality, the National Urban League advances comprehensive and multifaceted policies aimed at job creation, employment preparation and access.
Direct Job Creation Initiatives
When private demand is insufficient to drive economic growth and reduce the unemployment rate, direct job creation is necessary to generate demand and reduce budget deficits. Key policy initiatives supported by the National Urban League include:
§ Direct financial support to localities and non-profits that employ people and provide much needed services in local communities.
§ Infrastructure investments that go beyond transportation and bridges – expanded to include building schools, community centers, libraries, storm sewers and flood control projects.
§ Policies that create, grow and expand small businesses. Small businesses have always played a critical role in the economic well-being of communities of color as job creators and wealth generators.
§ Key proposals outlined in The American Jobs Act proposed by President Obama.
Preparation for, and access to employment
Every adult in America should have equal access to the resources that enhance employability and job mobility, including postsecondary education and other investments in human capital. Drawing on its years of experience in workforce training and development, the National Urban League recommends:
§ That Congress reauthorize the Workforce Investment Act (WIA): Congress must focus on preparing and retraining workers for 21st century jobs by targeting young adults with less than a college education, as well as high school dropouts and older workers whose jobs were eliminated by “The Great Recession.”
§ Including the Urban Jobs Act (UJA) (S.655/H.R.1340) in WIA. The UJA approach serves to strengthen WIA’s response to disconnected youth under age 24 in desperate need of services.
§ Restoring the Summer Youth Jobs Program as a stand-alone program and funding it with new monies at $5-7 billion to employ five million teens during the summer.
§ Insuring equitable representation of minority Community Based Organizations on State and Local Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs) where policy and programmatic decisions are made.
Support public-private partnerships
On May 20, 2013, the National Urban League launched a model public-private partnership, the “Jobs Rebuild America” Campaign to combat unemployment:
§ “Jobs Rebuild America” is a solutions-based, comprehensive approach to the nation’s employment and education crisis. It brings together federal government, business, and nonprofit resources to create economic opportunity in 50 communities across the country through the Urban League affiliate network.
Support Government-sponsored economic development initiatives that foster economic investment and job creation
The National Urban League has taken an active role in bringing these initiatives directly to our communities through the launch of the NUL CDFI, and an ongoing partnership with Stonehenge Capital for the placement of New Markets Tax Credits for development projects in economically challenged areas.
Raising the minimum wage and unemployment insurance (UI) are two policy areas that serve to raise and protect income from wages.
- The National Urban League supports the “Fair Minimum Wage Act of 2013” (H.R.1010/S.460).
- Offers key recommendations to strengthen the UI system. Report: Achieving Fairnes and Efficiency in Unemployment Insurance