Giving Every Young Person in IRONWOOD MICHIGAN a Path to Reach Their Potential
Our nation’s most basic duty is to ensure that every child has the chance to fulfill his or her potential. This isn’t the responsibility of one individual or one neighborhood: it’s up to all of us to pave these paths of opportunity so that young people — regardless of where they grow up — can get ahead in life and achieve their dreams.
That’s why My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) is such an important initiative. Launched by President Obama last year, MBK brings communities together to ensure that all youth — including boys and young men of color — can overcome barriers to success and improve their lives. I got to see this work up close during a recent trip to Oakland, California. I joined Mayor Libby Schaaf, City Council President Lynette McElhaney, and other stakeholders for a conversation about efforts that are making a difference in the lives of local youth.
One of the participants was a teenager named Edwin Manzano. The son of a hard-working single parent, Edwin found encouragement and support at the East Oakland Youth Development Center (EOYDC). Thanks in part to the academic and mentoring services offered by the EOYDC, Edwin will become the first member of his family to attend college when he begins his studies this fall at San Francisco State University.
Edwin is grateful for the opportunities that EOYDC afforded him. “Everyone needs a support system,” he says. That’s true whether you are a teenager or HUD Secretary. I was lucky when I was growing up on the West Side of San Antonio. Although it was a modest community in terms of resources, it was rich with folks who took an interest in my future. I had family members, teachers — and even policymakers — who paved a path that allowed me and other young people like me to succeed.
Unfortunately, not every child is as fortunate. That’s why My Brother’s Keeper is so close to my heart. The future of every young person in America should be determined by their heart, their mind and their work ethic. It should never be determined by their zip code.
In Oakland, I talked with 17 young people who have big hopes and aspirations for the future. It’s in our nation’s interest to help them achieve their goals. And we’re committed to doing our part at HUD.
For example, we’ve introduced a Jobs-Plus pilot program that will provide public housing residents in eight cities with intensive employment training, rent incentives and community building focused on work and economic self-sufficiency.
We’re also working on a broadband initiative to ensure that students living in HUD-assisted households will benefit from the life-changing opportunities available through high-speed internet. This project will provide the access to online resources that young people need to succeed in the 21st century global economy.
On the housing front, we expect the recent expansion of our Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) initiative to aid HUD-assisted properties in raising billions of dollars in private sector investment — funding that will be used to secure our nation’s affordable housing future. And recently, our Federal Housing Administration lowered its Mortgage Insurance Premiums to make homeownership more affordable for responsible families, helping them put down roots and build wealth for the future.
But I know HUD alone won’t solve the issues facing America’s youth. These challenges require our Department to maintain longstanding, effective partnerships with other federal agencies and key stakeholders. Most importantly, President Obama understands that My Brother’s Keeper will only succeed if local leaders take his call to action into their own hands.
Folks in Oakland are stepping up to answer this call. During the Community Conversation, I spoke with leaders from Oakland’s nonprofits, philanthropic institutions, and faith-based organizations that are putting our young people on the path to success. Groups like the East Oakland Youth Development Center, the East Bay Foundation, and the Allen Temple Baptist Church are using promising and proven approaches to make a real difference in their communities.
This kind of work is happening all across the nation and will benefit generations of Americans. We’ve got to keep it going by continuing to support our young people. When they succeed, our nation grows stronger, and our future becomes brighter. And by giving everyone an opportunity to reach their goals, we can ensure that the 21st century is another American century.
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IRONWOOD MICHIGAN: the March employment report reflects a pace of monthly job growth
The March employment report reflects a pace of monthly job growth below the recent trend, coming on the heels of February’s strong report. The unemployment rate was stable, broader measures of unemployment fell, and hourly earnings continued their rise. A range of factors including the weather and the global economic slowdown have affected economic data for the first quarter. The President has been clear that he will continue to push for policies including investments in infrastructure and relief from the sequester that would help ensure the strong underlying longer-term trends persist.
FIVE KEY POINTS IN TODAY’S REPORT FROM THE BUREAU OF LABOR STATISTICS
1. The private sector has added 12.1 million jobs over 61 straight months of job growth, extending the longest streak on record. Today we learned that total nonfarm payroll employment rose by 126,000 in March, driven by a 129,000 increase in private-sector employment. This particular month’s job gains were below the recent trend, as job growth in a number of industries slowed somewhat (see point 5). Over the past twelve months, the private sector has added 3.1 million jobs, nearly the highest year-over-year growth in the recovery so far.
2. Real aggregate weekly earnings have risen nearly 5 percent over the last twelve months. Real aggregate earnings track the purchasing power of total wages and salaries paid to U.S. private-sector employees, reflecting the combined effects of rising employment, rising wages, and a longer workweek. Aggregate earnings are nearly 7 percent above their pre-crisis peak. Indeed, they have recovered nearly twice their losses during the recession. Year-over-year aggregate earnings growth trended about 2-3 percent at an annual rate in recent years, but has risen to 5 percent year-over-year in recent months as hourly earnings have begun to rise (see point 3).
3. Over the past twelve months, rising real hourly earnings accounted for nearly half the increase in real aggregate weekly earnings. The large contribution of rising hourly earnings is a recent trend. Aggregate earnings reached a trough in December 2009, and over the following year-and-a-half, real hourly wages declined. The aggregate earnings increase during that early period was driven by a combination of rising employment and a longer workweek. Over the next three years, both hourly earnings and the workweek were largely stable, with rising employment accounting for 80 percent of the growth in aggregate earnings. Real wage growth over the past year has been a major contributor to the speed-up in aggregate earnings, due to both rising nominal wages and slowing consumer price growth as oil prices have declined. While the recent progress is encouraging, there is more work to do to ensure that real earnings growth is sustained and shared with a broad range of American families.
4. The overall share of jobs held by women rose from an average of 48.5 percent in 2001-2007 to 49.3 percent in March 2015. This 0.8 percentage point increase masks substantial variation within industries. Female workers shifted out of smaller industries like financial activities and information services where the female share declined by 3.1 and 3.7 percentage points, respectively and into higher-employment industries like retail trade. Women’s share of employment also increased somewhat in the government sector, where 57 percent of workers are female. Accordingly, women were disproportionately affected by the cuts to government employment that occurred between 2010 and 2013, but they have also disproportionately benefited from net job growth in this sector since mid-2013.
5. Job growth in a number of industries fell below recent trends in March. Looking over the 61-month streak of private-sector job growth, March was an especially weak month for mining and logging (-11,000), manufacturing (-1,000), leisure and hospitality (+13,000), and construction (-1,000). The weakness in mining and logging is likely attributable in large part to the recent decline in oil prices. March was a stronger than usual month in retail trade (+26,000) and health care and social assistance (+30,000). Across the 17 industries shown below, the correlation between the most recent one-month percent change and the average percent change over the last twelve months rose to 0.51 from 0.13 last month, remaining somewhat below the average correlation over the past two years.
As the Administration stresses every month, the monthly employment and unemployment figures can be volatile, and payroll employment estimates can be subject to substantial revision. Therefore, it is important not to read too much into any one monthly report and it is informative to consider each report in the context of other data as they become available.