Study: Unemployment hits young African American men hard in Ill. - FOX 32 News Chicago

Study: Unemployment hits young African American men hard in Ill.

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

Young African-American men face far more difficulty finding a job here in Illinois than they do in other states.

That's one finding of a new study commissioned by the Chicago Urban League.

With Illinois suffering the 4th worst unemployment in America, almost everyone faces more difficulty finding work here than in other states. Young African-American men, though, face the longest odds of all.

At a King Day breakfast sponsored by Rev. Jesse Jackson's Rainbow PUSH, Gov. Quinn pushed an election year theme he's using against his Republican critics, quoting the Bible.

"Woe to those who afflict the poor. That's why this year, in honor of Dr. King's legacy and memory, we're going to raise the minimum wage in Illinois," Gov. Quinn said.

It wouldn't help those who get no wage at all, disproportionately young, black and male.

A study commissioned by the Chicago Urban League found that, among African-American men ages 20-24, in Chicago only 33 percent had jobs, in Illinois 41 percent, both much worse than the national average 51 percent.

Diane Latiker, who runs a respected youth program, told FOX 32 of growing despair in her South Side Roseland neighborhood.

"Where are the jobs? Where's the training for our young people? Nothing is being invested to give those young people whose jobs are being taken, nothing is being done to create jobs for them," Latiker, who works at Kids Off the Block, said.

A spokesman for Quinn insisted the governor's committed to expanding job training programs for the unemployed.

As for Illinois's unemployment rate, nearly the worst in the Midwest, he called the state's high jobless rate an "historical disadvantage," though it was lower than the national average as recently as January, 2011, the month Illinois raised its income tax by 67 percent.

South Side State Sen. Kwame Raoul blamed a complex and inter-related series of issues for the high unemployment suffered by young black men, including segregated neighborhoods that have few legitimate jobs of any kind, racial and gender stereotyping, racism in some trade union apprentice programs, and poor schools.

He'd like Illinois to expand the use of targeted tax breaks in 89 so-called enterprise zones.

Fifteen are in Chicago.

When asked what a business would get as an incentive to build in one of the zones, he said "It could be a tax credit that tracks the number of new employees that are brought to that zone."

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