“The legislation approved by the U.S. Senate today is disappointing to say the least.
“Since President Obama’s announcement of the jobs bill in December, the CBC has expressed to the White House, House and Senate leadership interest in ensuring the chronically unemployed be targeted for opportunities to seek training and employment in the jobs bill.
“Data that suggest that the chronically unemployed include African Americans and other communities of color with unemployment rates significantly higher than the national average; youth and adult workers in need of enhanced education and training; and those who have lost their jobs as a result of the weakened economy and/or have been unemployed for at least six months.
“When presented with a powerful opportunity to create jobs and address the growing unemployment rates among the chronically unemployed, the Senate responded with a whimper. A ‘go slow’, piecemeal approach will do little to address our nation’s need for employment.
“It is critical that policy solutions include not only small business relief but worker training, the use of existing federal programs and targeted job creation to those communities with the highest rates and longest history of unemployment. Until the needs of the chronically unemployed are met, we implore leadership to stop calling this ‘the jobs bill.’”
“Specifically, our approach to job creation includes targeted funding and program distribution by incorporating Public Use Microdata Areas (PUMA’s) and other authorized approaches to identify and target areas with poverty rates of 15 percent or higher or unemployment of greater than 10 percent.
“Other essential elements of a comprehensive jobs package should include, but not be limited to:
• Creating public jobs initiatives, involving the Department of Labor Employment & Training A
• Locally-directed funding for Summer Youth Employment and collegiate -level apprenticeships and/or fellowships.
• Enforcing the minority contracting requirements under the Department of Transportation and promoting equal access to funding for projects of the National Significant and National Corridor grants in the extension of SAFETEA-LU.
• Expanding unemployment insurance and COBRA benefits.
• Providing access to capital and technical assistance to capital for small business from SBA and MBDA.
“We know that the bill produced by the Senate today is one in a series of legislative vehicles that are intended to produce jobs for our nation. We will continue to utilize the empirical data that suggest our strategy is not only accurate but needed during these times. We look forward to working with the White House, House and Senate leadership and our community partners to build and implement policies that will build and strengthen