Justin Terrell, Closing Our Worst-in-the-Nation Racial Jobs Gap

According to a new study released by the Economic Policy Institute, the Twin Cities, again, has the nation’s highest level of racial disparity in unemployment. Two years ago, the EPI came out with similar findings, which shows how persistent this problem is in Minnesota. The July 2nd study compared 19 metropolitan areas across the country, finding that in the Twin Cities in 2011, African Americans were 3.3 times as likely to unemployed as whites. This is a staggering statistic that puts the Twin Cities as the metropolitan area with the highest racial disparity in unemployment. Our fight for fair hiring practices has never been more important.

To tackle the jobs gap, employers need to open up opportunities to people previously excluded from the workforce, specifically, those with a criminal record. This is pertinent to the racial unemployment disparity because of the racial disparities also present in the criminal justice system. People of color make up 15% of Minnesota’s population, yet experience high disparities in education and income, due to poverty and persistent racial profiling they account for 46% of those in the criminal justice system.  When people with criminal records are excluded from the workforce, disproportionately, so are people of color.

Our Justice 4 All campaign aims to combat the racial unemployment disparity by asking Target, one of Minnesota’s largest and “most ethical” companies to step up and use fair hiring practices. We could go a long way to reducing the racial unemployment gap in Minnesota if employers eliminate initial questions about criminal records, do not consider an expunged or unrelated record, and are open to evidence of rehabilitation. The Twin Cities’ continued high racial unemployment disparity makes this issue all the more pertinent in Minnesota, and our Justice 4 All campaign all the more urgent.

Want to get involved?  Get in touch via email at Justin@TakeActionMinnesota.org.

Justin Terrell

Justin Terrell came on board this week as TakeAction Minnesota’s Justice 4 All Program  Manager, bringing with him a decade of experience serving his community at a variety of non-profits and community organizations.    

Justin sees Justice 4 All as an opportunity to address the social inequalities that prevent Minnesotans from pursuing their full potential after experiencing the justice system. He believes that all people can change and the justice system must change so that “ALL” Minnesotans can have the opportunity to participate in a healthy and safe society.

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