Landrieu launches effort to help unemployed black men find jobs

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12 September 2014

Hoping to reverse long-standing trends that have left New Orleans’ black population — particularly black men — at an economic disadvantage, the city unveiled an initiative Monday aimed at connecting the most needy job seekers with work opportunities.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu said New Orleans, like the state and federal governments, has done a poor job in providing a full-service conduit linking those in search of jobs to those with jobs to offer. The administration is betting on Monday’s introduction of a new initiative, the Economic Opportunity Strategy, to fill that gap.

The initiative was launched in response to a report released last year by Loyola University that found more than half of working-age African-American men in New Orleans were unemployed in 2011. The study, published by the university’s Lindy Boggs National Center for Community Literacy, tracked a decline in economic opportunity for black New Orleanians over three decades.

In 1980, according to the study, 63 percent of working-age black men had jobs, 7 percent were unemployed and 30 percent had dropped out of the workforce, a category that includes those who are in prison or who have stopped looking for work. By 2011, the combined categories of black men who were unemployed or out of the labor force had jumped to 52 percent.

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