(CBS) –A new study by the University of Illinois Chicago revealed some bleak employment numbers for African American and Hispanic youths.
The study from UIC’s Great Cities Institute found that 47 percent of 20-24 year old African American men in Chicago were out of school and out of work in 2014. Across the state, the number was 44 percent, much higher than the national average of 32 percent of young black men.READ MORE: DCFS Head Could Be Held In Contempt For Not Answering Questions About Kids Stuck In Psychiatric Facilities
The numbers are startling when it comes to teen unemployment for black teens at 88-percent. The stats are nor encouraging for Hispanics either, at 85 percent unemployed.
CBS 2’s Dorothy Tucker reports, this is more than a money issue.
David Elam was willing admit he was once part of a street gang in order to help politicians, educators, social service workers better understand the impact when nearly nine out of 10 black and Hispanic teens in Chicago are unemployed.
“I didn’t have a job,” Elam said. “Selling drugs was the only option that I thought I had to provide to my child at the time.”
Speaker after speaker expressed similar stories of turning to the streets or like Malik Milon, told tales of frustration
“Everywhere I can I fill out an application, for about 90 percent of them I get no response, not an email, not a reply,” Milon said. “It kills my confidence.”READ MORE: Mexican Independence Day Celebrations Could Bring More Gridlock Downtown: 'The City's Got Some Work To Do To'
The message was hard to ignore. Mayor Emanuel called the stats, “a flashing red light that we have a lot of work ahead of us to make sure every Chicagoan can participate fully in the future that awaits the city of Chicago.”
Lawmakers on hand talked about the need to push corporations to offer more jobs to black and brown youth and to provide more funding for job training programs that prepare men like Emanuel Dameron for a full time job.
“I’ll be a hard worker. I’ll be a team player,” he said. “I don’t wanna go back to jail.”