Empowerment Goal: Jobs- Every American has Access to Jobs with a Living Wage and Good Benefits
We believe that the key to pathways out poverty and low income dead-end jobs, reducing crime, stabilizing the middle class and enabling upward social mobility for communities of color is access to economic growth, good jobs with living wages and entrepreneurship. To meet these goals, the National Urban League and Urban League affiliates administer adult and youth job training and placement programs, digital literacy programs and computer labs, Entrepreneurship Centers, a successful New Market Tax Credit partnership, and the of launch a Community Development Financial Institution.
Direct Job Creation Initiatives
When private demand is insufficient to drive economic growth and reduce the unemployment rate, direct job creation is necessary to generate demand and reduce budget deficits. Key policy initiatives supported by the National Urban League include:
- Direct financial support to localities and non-profits that employ people and provide much needed services in local communities.
- Infrastructure investments in transportation and bridges, as well as in building schools, community centers, libraries, storm sewers and flood control projects.
o Transportation funding provides access to living wage jobs and local services that allow communities of color to enter and remain in the middle class. We support President Obama’s Grow America Act, which ensures communities of color have access to construction jobs through local hire provisions and workforce training opportunities. We also support the Department of Transportation’s Ladders of Opportunity Initiative that expands transit services to connect communities of color to the places and services they need and creates jobs.
- Policies that create, grow and expand small businesses. Small businesses have always played a critical role in the economic well-being of communities of color as job creators and wealth generators.
- Key proposals outlined in The American Jobs Act proposed by President Barack Obama.
Preparation for, and Access to Employment
Every adult in America should have equal access to the resources that enhance employability and job mobility, including post-secondary education and other investments in human capital.
- Equitable Implementation of WIOA: Drawing on its years of experience in workforce training and development, the National Urban League played a major role in the reauthorization of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) (P.L.113-128), enacted on July 22, 2014. To this end, the NUL is working to ensure that high poverty, high crime, underserved communities are served equitably by the new WIOA law and that national and community based organizations and intermediaries are included as full participants in state and local policy planning and program service delivery.
- TANF Reauthorization: We support targeted funding toward subsidized employment and education programs to put Temporary Assistance to Needy Families recipients back to work. These programs provide an important job placement resource for National Urban League affiliates.
- Raise the Minimum Wage: The National Urban League endorses the Raise the Wage Act, introduced by Representative Bobby Scott (VA) and Senator Patty Murray (WA) on April 30, 2015. Building on the momentum to raise the minimum wage in almost 30 states and the District of Columbia, the Raise the Wage Act will help nearly 38 million workers and represents a concrete step towards lifting families out of poverty and building an economy that works for everyone. The bill will:
o Raise the minimum wage to $12 by 2020 (first to $8/hour, then by $1/year for the next 4 years)
o Set automatic increases starting in 2021 to keep pace with rising wages overall
o Gradually phase out the subminimum wage—frozen at $2.13 since 1991—for tipped workers.
- Summer Jobs for Youth: Invest $5-7 billion to employ five million teens during the summer.
Support Public-Private Partnerships
On May 20, 2013, the National Urban League launched a model public-private partnership, the “Jobs Rebuild America” Campaign to combat unemployment:
- “Jobs Rebuild America” is a solutions-based, comprehensive approach to the nation’s employment and education crisis. It brings together federal government, business, and nonprofit resources to create economic opportunity in 50 communities across the country through the Urban League affiliate network.
Support Government-Sponsored Economic Development Initiatives that Foster Economic Investment and Job Creation
The National Urban League has taken an active role in bringing these initiatives directly to our communities through the launch of the NUL CDFI, an ongoing partnership with Stonehenge Capital for the placement of New Markets Tax Credits for development projects in economically challenged areas.