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Despite academic gains in the past two decades, black males have fewer job opportunities, are employed less frequently, and are paid less than white men, according to a new report.

The gap between white and black males in high school completion has virtually closed over the past 20 years, notes the report from the Center for the Study of Social Policy and the Philadelphia Children's Network. However, black males are still only half as likely as whites to go to college and are far less likely to find work, it says.

In 1993, only 54.5 percent of working-age black men--ages 16 to 64--were employed. The rest were either unemployed, out of the labor force, institutionalized, or of unknown employment status because they were not included in the 1990 U.S. Census. The proportion of black males without jobs was nearly double that of their white counterparts.

The study offers several reasons for the disparity between blacks' advances in high school graduation rates and the continued gaps in employment status. Among them are the diminishing value of a high school diploma in the labor market, and disparities between urban and suburban districts and also between schools in the same district.

The study also cites other causes of black males' joblessness: the decline in low-skill, high-wage jobs caused by the shift from a manufacturing to a service economy; rising immigration; and the movement of jobs away from cities to suburbs.

Copies of the report, "World Without Work: Causes and Consequences of Black Male Joblessness," are available from the Center for the Study of Social Policy, 1250 I St., N.W., Suite 503, Washington, D.C. 20005; (202) 371-1565; fax (202) 371-1472.

Latinos have been underserved by the federal employment and training program designed to prepare welfare recipients to enter the workforce, says a report from the National Council of La Raza. The report, "Latinos and jobs," examines the participation of Latino residents in the Job Opportunities and Basic Skills program in the 10 states with the largest Latino populations and Puerto Rico.

Although 17.8 percent of the recipients of Aid to Families with Dependent Children are Latinos, they make up only 12.8 percent of participants in the jobs program. The study cites as causes for the lower participation rates a lack of instruction in English as a second language and inadequate access to child care.

Copies of the report are available from the National Council of La Raza distribution center at (301) 604-7983. The report code is R20.

--Meg Sommerfeld

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