New Coalition Aims to Close Racial Unemployment Gap in St. Louis Region

By on November 1, 2018

From St. Louis Public Radio:  The unemployment rate in St. Louis region is the lowest it’s been in 17 years, but that’s only for some people. Unemployment is higher for African-Americans.

The Regional Youth Employment Coalition that launched this week aims to close that gap for young people entering the job market in St. Louis and St. Louis County. The coalition is a group of local organizations, nonprofits and private sector partners teaming up to boost employment opportunities, especially among African-American youth.

“We know that we are currently having stark disparities and who has access to economic opportunity and mobility in our economy,” said Valerie Patton, a senior vice president with the St. Louis Regional Chamber. “These disparities fall along racial lines with African-Americans.”

The program aims to unite pre-existing job training and community development programs, so they can specifically target underserved communities.

Katie Kaufmann, director of Ready By 21, the nonprofit spearheading the coalition, said there was a desire in the workforce and economic development community to collaborate, but the groups weren’t familiar with one another.

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