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High Poverty and Unemployment Rates within Minority Groups in Duluth

Updated: 07/16/2014 10:59 PM
Created: 07/16/2014 9:39 PM WDIO.com
By: Julie Kruse
jkruse@wdio.com
Twitter: JulieMKruse

Actions with solutions was the theme of the employment equity meeting on Wednesday night. Nearly 50 different community leaders, job seekers, employers and policy makers gathered to discuss how the city of Duluth can improve recruiting people of color for jobs and keeping them at those jobs once they're trained.

Statistics quoted at the meeting from the U.S. Census Bureau and City of Duluth housing documents report the poverty rate for African Americans in Duluth is 63% while their unemployment rate is 23.2%. The poverty rate for Native Americans in Duluth is 67.6% while their unemployment rate is 19.3%.

Duluth Human Rights Officer Bob Grytdahl said something needs to be done about this.

"Unless we come together and create a plan to fix them, they won't go away and they won't change," said Grytdahl. "The only way we are going to get more women and minorities participating in the work force is if the community comes together and makes a plan."

One possible solution that was mentioned at the meeting was finding jobs in new construction projects like the DTA Multimodal Center and Maurice's Tower. However, Community Organizer Henry Banks said the minority workers still need training.

"We have a lot of talented people here," said Banks. "We want our developers and we want our community to see that we have a lot of talented people but we need jobs and we need training too."

Another solution mentioned at the meeting incorporated the Duluth School System. They proposed offering more classes like wood shop to train kids at a younger age for these types of jobs.

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