African AmericansBlack Interests

Inspirational Organizations Breaking the Racial Unemployment Gap by Sally Writes


Special to Black Men In

In 2016, the rate of unemployment for African Americans was 8.8 percent, while the nationwide average was 4.9 percent. For years, the rate of unemployment among African Americans has consistently been twice of their white counterparts. However, this has inspired many men and women to work together to help beat these statistics and promote a flourishing market for African Americans to find a job. Here are some of their stories.

Black Girls Code

In 2015, women held about 25 percent of all computing occupations. However, only 3 percent of this comprised of African American women. There is a disproportionate number of women in coding, and even more of a disproportionate rate of African American women in the field of computer science. Therefore, “Black Girls Code” seeks to increase the number of women of color in the digital space.

There is expected to be about 1.4 million computing job openings in the United States by 2020. Black Girls Code is hoping to ensure that a good percentage of these jobs are available to African American women. The organization teaches young black girls about programming and game design through community outreach programs, workshops, and after school programs. As of 2013, they have established seven institutions across the United States and South Africa.

Helping Unemployed African Americans Receive Employment Benefits

In 2010, 11.2 percent of African Americans were unemployed, compared to 6.9 percent of white Americans. However, only 23.8 percent of African Americans were receiving unemployment benefits, compared to 33.2 percent of white Americans.

Therefore, many law firms such as the National Law Group, the first and only black-owned coalition of law firms, and the Unemployment Law Project, provide free legal consultations to African Americans. This includes advice on whether or not you can collect unemployment, how to file unemployment claims, and what to do if an unemployment benefits claim is denied.

InnerCity Weightlifting Finds Jobs for Incarcerated Men

One major factor that has led to high unemployment rates among African Americans is the disproportionate rate of incarceration among African Americans. African Americans are incarcerated at more than five times the rate of white Americans. Although African Americans and Hispanics make up 32 percent of the overall US population, they represent 56 percent of incarcerated people in 2015.

Incarceration and jail time puts a dent on these men and women’s records, making it nearly impossible to obtain a job after they have served their time. Angel LaCourt, a former inmate has personally experienced this hardship and decided to make a change. He started InnerCity Weightlifting in Boston, where ex-cons and former gang members can find support and a job. The non-profit certifies former inmates as personal trainers and provides them a job making at least $45,000 a year. It provides job training, workout clients, and a chance at a new life.

These organizations are helping to change the statistics regarding the disproportionate unemployment rate among African Americans, and changing the lives of families in their community.


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