Stimulus Failing People of Color

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

Today marks the one-year anniversary of the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA), the $787 billion stimulus bill designed to “assist those most impacted” by the recession by creating and preserving jobs. And so far, it has failed communities of color. On Monday, the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity (pdf)  disclosed that many of the employment gains from ARRA are not reaching workers of color who inhabit the communities hardest hit by the recession. According to the institute’s press release:

The stimulus did not go far enough in terms of marginalized communities, and it lacked transparency and accountability in regard to racial equity. Because people are situated differently, groups in declining urban centers with lower access to job creation face different needs for well-targeted investments in critical community infrastructure such as transit, schools, and parks and development of new recruitment and training standards that help new workers secure jobs.

Along with outlining federal job creation strategies (a future jobs bill should develop new recruitment and training standards that help new workers get into jobs and it should invest in critical community infrastructure such as transit, schools and parks), the 44-page report proposes state-level solutions to unemployment’s racial disparities such as improving tracking of ARRA resources and outcomes based on gender and race and increasing small and minority business participation. The institute also suggests increasing employment opportunities for ex-offenders and ensuring that marginalized communities are included in “green job” initiatives.

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