Equity in Hiring: what’s your take?

by / / Big Issues, Employment, Highlights

Last night’s Equity in Hiring meeting in the Hillside brought around 50 community members, organizers, employers, representatives of trade unions, and career counselors together to face a hard question: in a city where 63% of African Americans and 67.6% of Native Americans are living in poverty, how can the community work towards ensuring all Duluthians have access to employment?

Click here for a news clip from the meeting.

A few barriers were discussed:

  • Transportation. There are good jobs available in the skilled trades (carpentry, plumbing, etc.), but if you don’t have a car to get to worksites, those jobs are unrealistic.
  • Initial financial burdens of training. Sure, getting that $200 certification will pay off in the long run, but how are you supposed to scrape that together at the outset?
  • Networks. If you don’t know people who are already working in a field, it might not even be on your radar. Or you might not have the mentorship you need to understand the process of getting into the field–knowing where to start is not always straightforward.
  • Problems with your record. Maybe you made bad choices once, but you’ve done your time or paid your dues or gotten clean. It’s still hard to find employment afterwards.
  • Education. The school system is meant to give students possibilities, but there are huge disparities both in finishing high school and in finding the educational process inspiring instead of discouraging. Not to mention that schools across the country are trimming their vocational tech courses in favor of putting more students on the college prep track–that’s always a hot topic.

What do you see as the barriers to finding good employment in Lincoln Park? What can our community do to help take down those barriers?

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