The conversation focused on a recent article published in the Star Tribune stating that in the Twin Cities, the disparity in unemployment between blacks and whites is still the worst in the nation out of 19 metropolitan areas that were studied. In 2011, the unemployment rate among blacks was 17.7 percent; more than 3 times that of whites, and nothing has changed.
More Troubling Statistics
Spiwe and Jordana discussed various causes for this phenomenon, including hiring restrictions that some employers impose on individuals with criminal records. Spiwe cited statistics from the Council on Crime and Justice, which found that not only does the US have the highest incarceration rate in the world, but that in 2004, only 393 whites were incarcerated for every 2,531 blacks per 100,000 inmates. Add to that, in some cases, an arrest can stay on a person’s record even if he or she is later exonerated or the charge is never pursued.
Spiwe also noted that the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) forbids employer policies that summarily reject job applicants with criminal convictions “because the EEOC has found that this kind of practice has a racially disparate impact.” Spiwe and Jordana discussed other causes and solutions to the problem, including better access to quality education, and providing job training and putting teens to work to keep them out of trouble.
What You Can Do
There is plenty to do for both employers and employees, including reviewing and changing hiring practices, getting training, and increasing awareness. Visit the post entitled “Black and Unemployed? Join the Club!” on Spiwe’s blog www.spiwe.com for tools, tips and resources.
About The Spiwe Show
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