NEW BILL CREATES JOBS, TRAINS WORKERS, ASSISTS IN CREATING AND EXPANDING SMALL BUSINESSES, EXTENDS UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE AND PROHIBITS DISCRIMINATION AGAINST THE UNEMPLOYED
Unemployment rates nation-wide are critically high: In August, 2011, the official national unemployment rate was reported at over 9%. Among African Americans, the rate is much higher, at 16.7%. For African American males the rate is 17.5%, and for black teens it’s nearly 41%. 1.4 million African Americans have been out of work for more than 6 months. That is why the NAACP was so encouraged by President Obama’s jobs proposal –announced September 9, 2011 – and his statement that “inaction is not an option”. The NAACP applauds the President and Congress, which has now begun to focus on the need for an aggressive, national job creation program and address an issue that the NAACP has been calling a very real and crucial need for a long time.
The President’s plan, the American Jobs Act (which been introduced in the Senate as S. 1549) will expand opportunities for the long-term unemployed to reenter the workforce, provide incentives for businesses to hire and make investments in revitalizing schools, infrastructure and neighborhoods. It also extends unemployment insurance to benefit the long-term unemployed and their families. The plan supports summer / year-round jobs for youth. The tax cuts portion will benefit over 100,000 African American small businesses and will help African American owned small businesses access capital.
The President is also proposing to invest $15 billion in a national effort to put construction workers on the job rehabilitating and refurbishing hundreds of thousands of vacant and foreclosed homes and businesses. In addition, his plan would invest $25 billion in school infrastructure to modernize at least 35,000 public schools, with the funds targeted at the lowest income districts. The bill would also invest $35 billion to prevent layoffs of up to 280,000 public school teachers, while hiring tens of thousands more teachers and keeping first responders, such as cops and firefighters on the job.
Lastly, the President’s plan would target the long-term unemployed by proposing a tax credit of up to $4,000 to employers for hiring workers who have been looking for a job for more than 6 months. The President’s plan also specifically prohibits employers from discriminating against unemployed workers, which has been a priority for the NAACP as expressed by President and CEO Benjamin Jealous at the white House earlier this year.
The NAACP plans on keeping job creation and anti-employment discrimination a priority for American lawmakers until people and our economy are back at work. As such, we will continue to review and assess all job creation plans and strongly promote and advocate for those which will offer the greatest amount of help to those most in need.