A jobs program boosts skills and employment in challenged neighborhoods • St Pete Catalyst

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We learned a few days ago that the U.S. economy added 467,000 jobs in January and the unemployment rate of 4 percent had remained virtually unchanged since December.

The Biden administration, breathing a sigh of relief, proclaimed the good news.

But as often happens, the Black community fared less well.

U.S. Secretary of Labor Marty Walsh said as much in his blog. “While the Black unemployment rate has declined over the last year,” he wrote, “it remains approximately double the white unemployment rate.”

A lack of jobs, especially ones paying wages that give workers the dignity to comfortably support their families, is a troubling issue in the Black community – pandemic or not.

It’s one of the problems the City of St. Petersburg decided to focus on when it launched the St. Pete Works program several years ago in the South St. Petersburg Community Redevelopment Area. The goal was to offer job training and workforce readiness in…

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