The third leg of the Congressional Black Caucus’ “For the People” Jobs Initiative drew more than 3,000 people to Atlanta Technical College Thursday, for a day-long job fair, to be followed by a town hall with members of Congress.
“We plan to listen to the people who came to today’s job fair and try to address their concerns,” said Congressman John Lewis, the co-host of Thursday’s event with fellow Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson.
“Many communities we serve are seeing unemployment rates above 16 percent,” Johnson said in a statement before the job fair. “The CBC … is one of the few groups on Capitol Hill talking about creating jobs and the plight of the long-term unemployed.”
The “For the People” Jobs Initiative is a five-city tour, and launched in Cleveland, Ohio August 8th. The Atlanta job fair featured help finding work with the federal government, GI Bill and veterans’ job training, help for job seekers over age 55, and advice on interviewing, along with offering direct contact with potential employers.
The panel for the town hall was set to include Johnson and Lewis, along with Waters, and Reps Sanford Bishop (D-GA), Corinne Brown (D-FL), Donna Christensen (D-VI), Al Green (D-TX), Laura Richardson (D-CA), Cedric Richmond (D-LA), David Scott (D-GA) and Ed Towns (D-NY).
The second stop on the tour, Detroit, MI, also drew large crowds, and the town hall featured a venting of emotion from an anxious crowd of job seekers and some tough talk from Rep. Maxine Waters for President Barack Obama, who Waters said the CBC was ready to have a tough “conversation” with if black people would “unleash” the members to do so.
Thursday’s event took place in 90-plus degree Atlanta temperatures, and some job seekers fainted as they waited in lines that wrapped around the building in the early hours of the job fair, hoping to talk to the more than 90 employers who signed up for the event.
The tour is intended to promote a CBC-sponsored jobs resolution (H. Res 348) calling for a comprehensive national initiative to create jobs in struggling communities. The resolution was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives in July. The resolution has yet to come to the floor. The Black Caucus says it has proposed more than 40 job-related bills to help alleviate elevated unemployment rates in black and urban communities.
The co-hosts of the Atlanta event include
After Atlanta, the “For the People” jobs tour goes to Miami, FL August 22-23 and Los Angeles, CA August 30-31.