President Obama Could Be Doing More for Unemployment

In January, U.S. Rep. John Conyers and seven other Congress members created the Full Employment Caucus, with the goal of creating more than 24 million jobs in order to to end the unacceptably high rate of unemployment and underemployment in the United States.

Last week the caucus, now 30 members strong, sent an open letter to President Obama asking him to “ensure that America's prosperity is inclusive of women and minorities” by updating three sets of federal regulations along lines Gamaliel, NAACP, National Urban League and others been advocating for since last year.

  • Update hiring goals for contractors and subcontractors on federally funded projects—the last time these numbers were updated was in 1980.
  • Revise federal apprenticeship regulations with particular attention to opening up this pathway to employment for women and people of color
  • Strengthen the language in HUD Section 3 workforce regulations to help more residents in communities of color get access to work on improving public-housing developments when such work is contracted.


“We say thank you to the 30 members of the Full Employment Caucus to alert President Obama to the need to update these regulations,” said Ana Garcia-Ashley, executive director of Gamaliel Foundation. “This is a fix the president can do right now, with the power of the pen, to improve employment outlook for our people.”

As Full Employment Caucus' letter states “…the workforce utilization goals used to meet these goals need to be updated.  They have not been updated since 1980.”  It's time for a change—especially a change that could help thousands of low-income people, women, veterans, and people of color into a good paying job.  



Laura Barrett is the executive director Interfaith Worker Justice.


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