With African American unemployment at over 16 percent, the Congressional Black Caucus has launched a series of public hearings and jobs fairs across the country during the month of August.
The CBC's For the People Jobs Initiative begins today, August 8, at Cleveland State University. Congresswoman Marcia Fudge, D-Ohio, is sponsoring the event.
From Cleveland the events will move to Detroit, Miami, Atlanta and Los Angeles.
The CBC's chairman Emanuel Cleaver, D-Mo., commenting on the upcoming events, said last Friday, "Our goal remains the same. We want to get 10,000 people hired."
Over 120 companies have pledged to support the events. In addition to the public hearing and jobs fair, job readiness seminars providing on-the-spot training in resume writing and interviews will also be offered.
The CBC and the Congressional Progressive Caucus are holding public hearings to build support for a federal response to the jobs crisis. Nationally unemployment remains at over 9 percent.
President Obama according to press reports is expected to focus on job creation during a late summer speaking tour.
The president's recent meeting with members of the AFL-CIO executive council focused on the need for job creation as a means of addressing the deficit and the worsening economic crisis.
Economic indicators suggest the U.S. economy may be on the verge of a two-dip recession with the second phase even direr than the first.
Severe plunges in the U.S. and world stock markets last week added to growing recessionary fears.
Republicans in both houses of Congress have blocked jobs legislation and with the recently passed deficit reduction legislation, unemployment benefits are due to run out at the end of the year.
The New York Times has recently added its voice to those calling for federal measures the jobs crisis. In a recent editorial it said "President Obama must push Congress to extend federal unemployment benefits and the payroll tax cut for employees before they expire at year's end. Congress should also establish an infrastructure bank to finance building projects and initiate a direct federal job creation program to employ young people in their communities."
African American youth unemployment stands at 42 percent as compared to 22 percent for white youth. Over 35 percent of Latino youth are unemployed. Young Latinos experienced a sharp jump in unemployment numbers - over 9 percent - during the late spring and early summer. Young unemployed activists and allies are urging Congress to enact a federal jobs program.
Over 7,000 people have arrived at Cleveland state for the jobs event. Speaking on MSNBC from the Cleveland Monday morning Congresswoman Maxine Waters, D-Calif., said, "We can never feel as if we can't do something about the crisis. One of the things we are hoping is going to happen is that the Republicans, particularly led by the tea party group, will understand that they're undermining the economy rather than helping the economy. We should be stimulating the economy, not causing the economy to withdraw by taking government money out."
The Cleveland public hearing will broadcast live at 6:00 p.m. at www.grio.com.
Photo: Rep Frederika Wilson, D-FL, speaking earlier in the summer at Progressive Caucus Jobs Public Hearing.