The National Urban League (www.nul.org) today announced the historic initiative, Jobs Rebuild America: Employ, Educate, Empower.
The first component of the two-pronged initiative includes a series of public and private investments totaling more than $70 million over the next five years. Existing programs will be augmented and new programs created, reaching thousands of job-seekers, youth and entrepreneurs, and putting urban America back to work.
The second component of the initiative is an aggressive grassroots advocacy campaign focused on federal legislative action to create permanent pathways to employment for at-risk teenagers and young adults.
“Throughout the Great Recession, our network of nearly 100 affiliates has served as economic first responders for communities devastated by job loss,” said Marc H. Morial, National Urban League President and CEO. “Urban League affiliates have a solid track record of success in creating economic opportunity and preparing people to take advantage of those opportunities. We’ve worked very closely with our partners in the private sector and in the federal government to maximize resources and mobilize the strength of our collaborative efforts.”
The expansion comes as part of the National Urban League’s ongoing “War on Unemployment” launched in 2011, which included the release of a 12-Point Plan: Putting Urban America Back to Work, and a nationwide Jobs Tour.
The expansion of programs includes:
1. Urban Youth Empowerment Program, 20 cities
A job-training program that targets out-of-school and adjudicated youths between ages 14 and 17, and/or adjudicated youth between 18-24 years old, to prepare them for entry into world of work through provision of a comprehensive set of services including case management, education and job training, mentoring, internships and subsidized employment.
2. Mature Workers Program, 6 cities
Provides job training, counseling, job placement and supportive services to workers who are 55 and older. Participants are placed in subsidized community service positions at non-profit and public facilities, designed to provide skills that enable participants to obtain unsubsidized employment.
3. California Urban Youth Empowerment Program, 3 cities
A job-training program that targets out-of-school and/or adjudicated youth between 18-24 years old, to prepare them for entry into world of work through provision of a comprehensive set of services including case management, education and job training, mentoring, internships and subsidized employment, focused on three California cities to be named at a later date.
4. Urban Empowerment College Bound Program, 2 cities
A partnership with Everest University, the pilot program provides students who have not finished high school with classroom instruction, tutoring, financial counseling and career coaching.
5. Urban League Entrepreneurship Centers, 10 cities
Located at 10 Urban League affiliates around the country, the Centers provide comprehensive financial literacy training, management counseling, mentorship as well as technical assistance to start-up businesses that result in higher survival rates. All 10 Centers support job creation and preservation and long-term financial growth strategies through educational workshops and trainings, one-on-one consultation and business plan development geared to strengthen the business skills of minority entrepreneurs, assist businesses secure financing and contracts that advance their annual revenue and identify new markets with high-growth potential.
6. Career and Networking Fairs
In addition to a 3-day Career and Networking Fair that takes place during Annual Conference, the National Urban League’s Jobs Network hosts online Virtual Career Fairs and promotes local job fairs in conjunction with affiliates.
7. Urban League Small Business Matters Summit
A one-day summit held in conjunction with the Annual Conference, it features dynamic speakers and interactive workshops. The Small Business Matters Summit offers the opportunity to network with industry leaders and successful entrepreneurs while accessing resources meant to spearhead your business growth and plans. The Pitch Contest offers new businesses an opportunity to win $10,000 in financing.
8. Urban Empowerment Fund
A Community Development Financial Institution, or CDFI, created to fill a credit gap that has widened during the last two years, it will invest in new and expanding small businesses, nonprofit organizations, community facilities, and affordable housing development in underserved communities. Through its lending activity, the Urban Empowerment Fund will help empower African Americans to attain economic self-sufficiency and to create sustainable, vibrant minority communities throughout the country.
9. Urban League Stonehenge New Markets Tax Credit Partnership
A federal community development program designed to stimulate the flow of investment capital in underserved communities. Tax payers that make qualified equity investments in designated Community Development Entities (CDEs) receive a 39 percent NMTC tax credit that is claimed over a seven-year credit allowance period. Substantially all of the qualified equity investment must in turn be used by the CDE to provide investments in low-income communities.
10. Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses
A national network of partners investing $500 million, funded by Goldman Sachs, to unlock the economic growth and job-creation potential of 10,000 small businesses across the United States through greater access to business education, mentors and networks, and financial capital. National Urban League is an anchor partner.
11. Project Ready, 32 cities
Provides 8th-12th grade students with academic, social and cultural supports and opportunities designed to develop “readiness”: having the information and perspective necessary for success without needing remediation in college or career.
The first component of Jobs Rebuild America has both current and new public and private supporters, including the U. S. Department of Labor, Nationwide Insurance, Everest College, Pitney Bowes, Wells Fargo, Goldman Sachs, Stonehenge, UPS, State Farm, Target, Best Buy, the U.S. Department of Justice, AT&T, Time Warner, Chevron, BP America and the New York Stock Exchange.
Site selection for the new programs is underway and will be announced at a later date.
The second component of the Jobs Rebuild America initiative is an advocacy campaign focused on raising national awareness about the urgent need to invest in the education and skills enhancement of at-risk youths and disadvantaged young adults, passage of targeted jobs legislation and a responsible fiscal plan, and deficit reduction initiatives that do not exacerbate the unemployment crisis.
“Like all Americans, we believe the nation must tackle deficit reduction,” Morial wrote in a November letter to President Obama and Congressional leaders, in which he identified jobs as the nation’s top priority. “Our approach must marry compassion for the most vulnerable Americans with protection for the nation’s jobs, and require sacrifice from every American, including those who have benefited the most.”