Jobs and Unemployment
When I am in the grocery store or visiting community centers and local organizations in the Atlanta metro area, there is nothing people talk about more than jobs. – John Lewis
Fighting for Jobs & Standing Up for the Unemployed
The Great Recession has hit our community hard. Thousands lost their jobs through no fault of their own and are struggling to find gainful employment. At the same time, college graduates are struggling to enter the most competitive job market in generations.
I do not understand when and why people who lost their jobs through no fault of their own became the enemy. In August, Rep. Hank Johnson and I co-hosted a jobs fair and townhall meeting at Atlanta Technical College as part of the Congressional Black Caucus “For the People” Initiative. This event was a painful reminder of how many people are hurting right now – struggling to make ends meet.
From the beginning of the economic crisis, I have worked on three priorities:
- Creating livable wage jobs in Metro Atlanta;
- Protecting the unemployed; and
- Helping to grow and protect assets and small business.
I have long supported legislation to create an additional tier of emergency unemployment benefits and provide a long-term extension of emergency benefits. I assisted in efforts to fight discrimination against the long-term unemployed, and I also cosponsored legislation which creates a national Civilian Conservation Corps to employ the long-term unemployed and underemployed and bills to train, educate, and hire unemployed urban youth.
A recent Pew Center report on the impact of the recession on Americans highlighted an issue about which I have long been concerned – why have certain communities been hit so hard and what can we do to prevent this recurring trend? The answer lies in asset creation and education. Earlier this year, I reintroduced the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Assets for Independence Reauthorization Act which helps low-income individuals save towards the purchase of a home, starting a small business, or further their education. These types of public-private partnerships have a long-standing record of truly breaking the cycle of poverty and should be the center-piece of any long-term, economic recovery plan.