Black History Month is a wonderful time to think about historical accomplishments. However, it would be better served as catalysis for further opportunities for all people. There are over 15 million unemployed in our country. What worked in the past for job prospects will not work during this economic crisis. Blacks are not excluded from this Great American Dream. Are they? This article examines the issues of black unemployment in America and some strategies for improving this national crisis.
In urban area, the black employment trends should be disturbing to most American citizens. Unemployment in the black community is more than doubled the average American. Additionally, the unemployment gap between blacks and whites have widen since the recession ended over two years ago. For blacks, the unemployment in 2011 was 15.8% while the white employment fell from 8.5% to 7.5% percent. Blacks are heavily hit since much of the upward mobility has been found in federal, state, and local governments. Algernon Austin, director of the Economic Policy Institute’s Program on Race, Ethnicity and the Economy, explains the results racial gaps are evident: "The gap is becoming more noticeable after recessions end, and African American workers are facing increasingly long odds."
More employment opportunities for blacks should include innovative ways of thinking. An individual cannot be satisfied with the past career successes. Today’s financial crisis demands a shift in thinking. In fact, it is an attribute to one’s branding strategy to be unforgettable to others. Indispensability means adding value to your customers and organization. This new mindset provides a competitive advantage in the market.
Consequently, there needs to be strategies that empower these communities. If people look to the government or capitalism to save them, they are doomed. Historically, black churches have provided entrepreneurial and business professionals in the community. America needs this innovative thinking back. Richard S. Brown Jr., pastor of Payne Avenue Baptist Church, argues that it is time that churches take a more active role in this employment disparity: "We are called to minister to the whole man. We are to feed the whole man spiritually. However, we want to also minister to meet the physical needs of this person." His church has already begun some activities, including an employment event with industry experts in the hopes of inspiring, educating, and employing the community. Churches, within urban areas, recognize the urgent need for economic opportunities. Jobs are at the top of this list. In this new job strategy, a personal branding strategy and strategic alliances are part of the employment war chest.
Furthermore, having the right job skills and networking with the right people are game changing attributes. This new mindset provides a competitive advantage in the marketplace ---even for black people.
The future is filled with uncertainty. More and more jobs go abroad. Companies continue to shrink in size in hopes of being more competitive. Yet, the concept of indispensability may be able to assist the black community is retooling for the future. With millions of people searching for full-time employment, some hope is better than no at all.
© 2012 by Daryl D. Green