As discussed in this blog in 2011, the unemployment numbers throughout the country mandate: increased public-private partnerships and decisive legislative action. These tangible actions are required to address the American jobs crisis. In response to the dismal unemployment figures, an open letter with almost two thousand (2,000) signatures was sent by the National Urban League to the President and Congress urging their support in the “War on Unemployment” in 2011.
Throughout the 2011 calendar year, this blog focused primarily on recently introduced pieces of legislation and other activities undertaken to address the current economic crisis with a focus on addressing the high unemployment rate and the resulting record bankruptcies, foreclosures, growth in homelessness and food insecurity. I will continue to write on this topic until the necessary action is taken to address the crisis.
By the end of 2012, it has been projected that we may have as many as five million people across this nation who have completely exhausted their unemployment insurance benefits and remain unemployed. Many of these “99ers” are close to eroding their savings and assets and wonder how much longer they can hold on. With that said, we have seen entire families impacted by long term unemployment as young children lose growth opportunities, parents can no longer afford college for their children and college graduates have moved back home with their parents. Let’s take a look at a public private partnership and several pieces of legislation.
Public-Partnership Example: Platform to Employment
“Platform to Employment is a public-private partnership giving businesses a risk-free opportunity to evaluate and consider hiring 99ers during an 8 week work experience program. During the 8 weeks, wages are subsidized with private investment funds and workers are placed on the payroll of The WorkPlace. The work experience program becomes an eight-week try out where 99ers can demonstrate they have skills, ability and drive to compete in the global marketplace.”
“P2E begins with a preparatory program designed to address the social, emotional and skill deficiencies caused by long term employment. A core element of this solution is a support system focusing on lasting performance improvements for participants. P2E incorporates a proven curriculum of self-assessment, managing change, effective communication and successful job search strategies. Multi-media tools reinforce instructor led programs and cohort learning.”
“During the preparatory program 99ers take action and fully realize their personal and professional potential. They develop new strategies for solving problems and create a positive change in themselves.”
“Three tiers of critical assistance
Tier One – Job Readiness
Coaching, workshops and hands-on training to hone necessary job skills.
Tier Two – Emotional Readiness
Counseling and behavioral health services to manage stress and build confidence.
Tier Three – 8 Week Work Experience”
The WorkPlace subsidizes a worker’s first eight weeks on the job. Employers offer a critical opportunity, hope, and a chance to evaluate a new population of job-ready applicants.
By eliminating employer risk during the hiring process, we break down a significant structural barrier that 99ers face when seeking employment.
Below are several pieces of recent legislation which were introduced to address the unemployment crisis:
Promoting Partnerships to Transform Opportunities Act (H.R. 2611)
The Promoting Partnerships to Transform Opportunities Act (H.R. 2611) is one such piece of legislation. In response to record employment, the Promoting Partnerships to Transform Opportunities Act (H.R. 2611) was introduced on July 21, 2011, by US Representative Raul Grijalva (S-AZ7). This piece of legislation would “…amend the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to prepare people with multiple barriers to employment to enter the workforce by providing such people with support services, job training, and education, and for other purposes. This new piece of legislation, H.R. 2611, has four (4) cosponsors. It is in the first step of the legislative process.
Earlier this year, another piece of legislation was introduced to amend the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 to permit the establishment of Job Corps centers in the territories of the United States. On June 24, 2011, H.R. 2935 was introduced by Delegate Gregorio Sablan (D-MP) to amend the Workforce Investment Act of 1998. H.R. 2935 has 26 cosponsors. It is also in the first step of the legislative process.
Discrimination Against the Long-Term Unemployed ?
Is discrimination against the unemployed partly responsible for the nation’s high unemployment? Some assert that there is convincing evidence that employers are discriminating against the unemployed. In other words, when reviewing applicants some employers are only electing to interview candidates for vacant positions that are currently employed.
Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 (2501)
In response to this observed phenomena, Democratic members of congress introduced legislation to prevent discrimination against unemployed workers. Representatives Rosa DeLauro’s of Connecticut and Congressman Hank Johnson of Georgia introduced the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 (2501), which would prohibit employers and employment agencies from discriminating against unemployed job-seekers by refusing to consider them for employment. According to Representatives Rosa DeLauro’s press release—“In today’s tough economy, more than 6 million Americans have been out of work for more than six months. But companies across the country have begun to require current employment to be considered for available positions, and these discriminatory practices are eliminating employment opportunities.
The Fair Employment Opportunity Act will prevent employers and employment agencies from refusing to consider or offer employment to someone who is unemployed, or including language in any job advertisements or postings that states unemployed individuals are not qualified. A recent survey, conducted by the National Employment Law Project (NELP), of four of the top job search websites, CareerBuilder.com, Indeed.com, Monster.com, and CraigsList.com, found over one hundred and fifty (150) job advertisements that specified applicants must be currently employed. And the Job Openings and Labor Turnover Survey shows that there are 4.7 unemployed workers for every one (1) job opening.” The legislation introduced by US Representatives Rosa DeLauro’s of Connecticut and Hank Johnson of Georgia , if passed by the House and Senate, would apply to employers with over fifteen (15) employees and would provide protection to job applicants who are discriminated against because they are unemployed.
Key provisions of the Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 include but are not limited to: (a) Employers – It shall be an unlawful practice for an employer to–
1. Refuse to consider for employment or refuse to offer employment to an individual because of the individual’s status as unemployed;
2. Publish in print, on the Internet, or in any other medium, an advertisement or announcement for any job that includes—
– any provision stating or indicating that an person’s status as unemployed disqualifies the individual for a job; and
– any provision stating or indicating that an employer will not consider an applicant for employment based on that individual’s status as unemployed; and
3. Direct or request that an employment agency take an individual’s status as unemployed into account in screening or referring applicants for employment.
Representatives Rosa DeLauro’s press release aptly states that, “In a tough job market, where workers are competing against tens and sometimes hundreds of others for every available job opening, it is unjust for employers to discriminate against those who are unemployed. We have seen ample evidence that unemployed individuals are increasingly falling prey to discriminatory practices reducing their opportunities to be considered for a job. The Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 would prohibit employers and employment agencies from discriminating against unemployed job-seekers, and ensure that all Americans have the same opportunities for employment.
Discrimination against the unemployed – especially the long-term unemployed – in job advertisements and hiring practices flies in the face of what we stand for as a nation: Equal opportunity for all,” said Rep. Johnson. The Fair Employment Opportunity Act of 2011 will help us level the playing field and get people back to work.”
Like most Americans, some members of congress assert that, “It is time for action on the most important issue of our time—economic opportunity through jobs! Every American deserves the right to be gainfully employed or own a successful business”—said U.S. Representative Cleaver. I agree. It’s time to move on from manufactured crises and focus on jobs.” If you agree with me,
Lamont Cranston reminds us that,” History will judge us either for our activism or apathy. The choice is ours, but the impact of our decision is ultimately on our children.” If the pressing social issues covered in these posts are important to you, please contact your elected officials in Washington, DC. For further information on these pieces of legislation, please visit http://www.govtrack.us. www.opencongress.org.
Source(s): The Work Place website. Representatives Rosa DeLauro website, HR 2501, Representative Johnson website, and opencongress.org. National Urban League. US Rep. Cleaver’s Facebook page. http://www.govtrack.us. http://www.opencongress.org Lamont Cranston. http://www.grio.com. http://www.thecincinnatiherald.com. http://www.theblackamerica.com. AFL-CIO.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
February 20th is recognized as a National Day to support persons inside cages who express their solidarity with the 99% and to support individuals seeking social, economic, and other forms of justice. With the help of supporters, allies, and larger communities, Occupy4Prisoners and other prisoner advocacy organizations aim to create a safe space to allow the voices of persons in captivity to be heard. This day of action was initiated by California death row prisoner Kevin Cooper and has garnered the support of many, many organizations and individuals nationally.
Occupy4Prisoners and other advocacy organizations urge us to join in on this historical day of action and be a part of amplifying the voices of prisoners and their concerns. They are asking that we stand in solidarity with those behind prison walls, their loved ones, and formerly incarcerated people. Prisoners are part of the 99% and Occupy4Prisoners and other advocacy organizations ask that we stand together in demanding an end to mass incarceration.
Occupy4Prisoners asserts that prisoners as well as formerly imprisoned PEOPLE, are one of the most marginalized and vulnerable populations in our society.” They “have been labeled as “offenders”, “criminals”, “convicts”, “ex-offenders”, “ex-cons”, and many other dehumanizing terms, and are scapegoated for causing society’s fundamental problems.” Prisoners “…are PEOPLE, and not the labels…”. Occupy4Prisoners argues that “…the real “criminals” are those who run Wall Street, who are responsible for genocide, racism, xenophobia, and all forms of discrimination. They lead the attacks against communities throughout America.”
Occupy4Prisoners argues that many of incarcerated persons and formerly incarcerated persons live by a code of conduct and support self-determination. They strive to build and follow leadership in our collective and public actions. These persons do not advance individual agendas over our collective needs. Further, participants in this movement accept responsibility for any acts that may have caused harm to their families, their communities or themselves, and seek to play an active role in making their communities safe for everyone.
Occupy4Prisoners and other advocacy organizations remind us that seldom if ever, are people inside asked or given a safe space to tell their stories. With that said, the general public needs to know what is going on inside these cages, how the bottom of the 99% are treated by the 1%, and the need to meaningfully include people inside as we build our collective efforts.
Occupy4Prisoners asks that everyone reading these words to support their efforts to create a safe, secure and genuinely inclusive space for people inside, and to build a genuine role for their voices in the February 20th National Day of Occupy in Support of Prisoners. Please take a moment to read through these statements from people in prison: http://occupy4prisoners.org/statements-from-people-in-prisons/. They are such a good reminder of why this day of action is so important for those 2.3 million people who the 1% aims to make invisible. The words of prisoners also remind us that this day of action is just the beginning. As Mumia points out,
“….the Occupy Movement must do more. As it shifted the discussion and paradigm on economic issues, it must turn the wheel of the so-called ‘Criminal Justice System’ in America, that is in fact, a destructive, counter-productive, annual $69 billion boondoggle of repression, better-known by activists as the Prison-Industrial-Complex. That means more than a one-day event, no matter how massive or impressive. It means building a mass movement that demands and fights for real change, and eventually abolition of structures that do far more social damage than good. It means the abolition of solitary confinement, for it is no more than modern-day torture chambers for the poor. It means the repeal of repressive laws that support such structures. It means social change—or it means nothing. So let us begin—Down With the Prison Industrial Complex!”
Actions are happening all across the country. If there’s not an action already planned in your city, you can still be a part of the National Day of Action. These are things you may want to consider doing:
1. Setting up a table to bring awareness to the issue of mass incarceration. This could include printing up literature to hand-out, petitions for specific cases for people to sign, or even a laptop with videos playing about the day of action. This could be a good way to help inform people about what’s going on and also meet people who you could work with for future events.
2. Using social media sites to spread the word about February 20 and the issue of mass incarceration. Occupy4prisoners.org has a section with powerful statements from prisoners about the national day of action. Those should be spread far and wide! We have to let the 1% know that we have not forgotten about the 2.3 million people they aim to make invisible. We want to amplify their voices on the outside.
3. Organize a reading group of Michelle Alexander’s book The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness. This book is an important tool for our movement. The New Jim Crow goes through mass incarceration and its historical ties to Jim Crow, the war on drugs, how the court system “works”, and the impact a felony record has on one’s life. It is full of staggering statistics that expose the racist prison system and point out that the only way forward is a mass social movement that demands change.
4. Bring issues that prisoners face into your local Occupy movement. This could be done through a teach-in, film screening, or by starting a prisoner solidarity working group.
Source(s): www.Occupy4Prisoners.org. Action Alert CEDP.
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art
This President’s Day Weekend, Eyewitness News reported on “Occupy Wichita Kansas” the home of the Koch Brothers, Koch Industries, and their Kansas Policy Institute “Think Tank”. About five hundred (500) activists are expected to descend upon the home of David and Charles Koch’s Koch Industries. The ‘Occupy Koch Town’ event is a joint effort of the Kansas and Missouri chapters of the Sierra Club and of several nearby Occupy groups, who see the company as a prime example of corporate dominance of politics and science. “Protesters …are speaking out against what they say is a vested interest by Koch in the Keystone pipeline project. Event organizers chose Wichita because they claim the pipeline project is supported by Wichita based Koch Industries. However, Koch has repeatedly said they have nothing to do with the project and call today’s protest a politically charged attack.”
“The crowd was hard to miss as they made their way through downtown Wichita. They’re protesting the Keystone pipeline project which they claim could be harmful to the environment.” “I’m concerned about the Aquifers and what could happen if we let somebody else put a dangerous straw across our country and it pops a leak,” protester Esau Freeman said.”
“There were a few tense moments during the downtown demonstration when the group marched in front of Century II. Police officers cleared the crowd off the private property and some heated words were exchanged. Eventually the protestors moved on, trying to spread their message to people passing by.”
“We’ve had some questions. We’ve had some of the people on the streets just join right in with us. It’s been really positive with a lot of people driving by honking, no negativity that I saw,” Mike Shatz with Occupy Wichita said.
“There was a small counter protest to the “Occupy Koch Town” movement. A one-man march followed the larger crowd. Craig Newland isn’t shy about his opposing opinion.“I’m outnumbered but I’m getting in the last word,” counter-protester Craig Newland said. “These people are parasites. The Kochs are producers,” Newland said.
“Despite their differing views, Newland said he actually got along nicely with the occupiers. After several hours of marching, the group called it quits and headed back to home base. They plan to continue their protest on Sunday.”
“The director of Koch’s corporate communications responded to Saturday’s demonstration by emailing the following written statement: “We would encourage the protesters to turn their attention to matters that are real and pressing such as excessive government spending, more than $15 trillion in federal debt, and onerous regulations that are crippling our nation.” “This protest is a politically motivated attack and an attempt to harass and demonize an American company.”
Source(s): www.Kakeland.com, “Occupy Kochtown Movement Marches Through Downtown Wichita”, Parrish Alleman. “The Nation of Change. OpEdNews.com.
 CSPAN: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y-wFXLMvzHw
 Reuters: http://www.reuters.com/article/ …
 Greg Palast, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy
 Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ …
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art.
Valentine’s Day marks a day for couples and sweethearts to celebrate their love and treasure their time together. Unfortunately, far too many romantic relationships are filled with violence and turmoil. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings, and rape combined. And studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic abuse annually.
February is National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Teen Dating Violence (DV) Prevention and Awareness Month is a national effort to raise awareness about abuse in teen and 20-something relationships and promote programs that prevent it during the month of February.
Like domestic violence, teen dating violence is a pattern of controlling, and abusive behaviors of one person over another within a romantic relationship. It can include verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, and financial abuse. It can occur in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. It knows no boundaries and crosses race, socio-economic status, culture, and religion. Violence can happen to anyone.
Annually, 1 out of 11 adolescents reports being a victim of physical dating abuse (CDC 2006). Many of these cases of teen dating violence could have been prevented by helping adolescents to develop skills for healthy relationships with others (Foshee et al. 2005). Like adults, teenagers can choose better relationships when they learn to identify the early warning signs of an abusive relationship, understand that they have choices, and believe they are valuable people who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
Access to information is integral to breaking the cycle of violence. Toward that goal, I would like to direct your attention to very help informational resources related to domestic violence intervention, prevention, and community outreach. For further information on teen dating violence, here are several websites you can visit: www.thesafespace.org; and www.breakthecycle.org.