By Martha Love
Times have been tough, there is no doubt about it.
Even as the United States works its way out of the Great Recession, young adults have found it increasingly difficult to find employment. About one in ten Americans between the ages of 16 and 24 are unemployed, more than twice the national average. But when we look even closer, the numbers are worse for our community: the unemployment rate for African American young adults is almost twice that of white teenagers. This is unacceptable, and Hillary Clinton has pledged to do everything she can to level the playing field.
Hillary has worked her entire life to break down the barriers that hold people back from reaching their God-given potential. She understands the need to focus on removing obstacles that keep wages down and make it harder for our young people to find good-paying jobs.
Hillary wholeheartedly believes that a black child should have the same chance at economic prosperity as a white child. To make this vision a reality, she has detailed a $125 billion Economic Revitalization Initiative which will help provide underserved communities advance towards economic prosperity. This initiative will create good-paying jobs, rebuild crumbling infrastructure, and connect neglected communities with better housing.
To expand employment prospects for young African-Americans, Hillary has committed to invest $20 billion to support millions of youth jobs. This investment will provide direct federal funding for local programs that will put our kids to work.
She has also pledged to create a new grant program that would provide federal funds when local employers, community leaders, and colleges put forward strategies and resources for youth employment. These funds would support millions of jobs and internships for young African-Americans across America.
Additionally, she believes that those who have made mistakes in their lives should not be permanently knocked down. More than 600,000 people annually return to their communities from prison, and millions more come home following time in jail for low-level offenses. Too many of these people lack the necessary tools to succeed. In particular, they are often closed out of jobs for which they are qualified.
Not only is this an economic issue and a fairness issue, it is a family issue too. That being said, Hillary has proposed a $5 billion investment in reentry programs for formerly incarcerated people to help get them back on their feet and enter the workforce. She understands that everyone deserves a second chance, and it is in our moral and economic interest to insure that is realized.
Hillary, like many of us, knows that the barriers of bigotry hold back our communities from reaching their god-given potential. This is particularly true for communities of color. The systematic racism our communities face on a daily basis hinder not only our societal progress, but our economic progress. Hillary has fought her entire life to break such barriers down, and she will continue to do so until the job is done.