Christian Science Monitor: Hope for US economy: Young black men as entrepreneurs
Young African American men, especially ex-offenders, face high obstacles to employment. That’s where entrepreneurship training comes in. If just 1 in 3 small businesses hired one employee, the US would be at full employment. Young men of color can be crucial to this progress.
... This new non-profit [City Startup Labs] was created to take at-risk young African American men, including ex-offenders, and teach them entrepreneurship, while creating a new set of role models and small business ambassadors along the way. City Startup Labs contends that an alternative education that prepares these young men to launch their own businesses can have far more impact with this population than other traditional forms of job readiness or workforce training.
Today’s economic climate allows employers their pick of candidates, leaving few options for anyone with a record. Young black men, who’ve had no brushes with the law, still routinely face real barriers in getting on a job ladder’s lowest rung.
According to a 2005 Princeton study, “Discrimination in Low Wage Labor Markets,” young white high school graduates were nearly twice as likely to receive positive responses from employers as equally qualified black job seekers. Even without criminal records, black applicants had low rates of positive responses – about the same as the response rate for white applicants with criminal records.
This is where entrepreneurship comes in. For example, a report done by the Justice Policy Institute states that, “…recidivism is higher for those persons who are unable to obtain employment after leaving prison and imposes a high cost on society; and yet employment opportunities are especially limited for ex-convicts. Thus self-employment would be a viable alternative for ex-offenders, at least for those with above average entrepreneurial aptitude…” Someone like a Lawrence Carpenter. ...
... Despite this entrepreneurial divide, black business development has quite a compelling story. According to the Census Bureau, during the period from 2002 to 2007 and before the Great Recession struck, the growth rate of black-owned companies was more than triple the national rate of 18 percent. Revenue generated by black-owned companies increased more than 55 percent to $137.5 billion. Many of those were businesses like Carpenter’s Super Clean Professional Janitorial Services. ...