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Hello my name is Percy Sutton. I'm the president of the borough of Manhattan in the city of New York. For the next 30 minutes I'll be moderating a different kind of panel program. It is one of a series called What must be done. The title of these programs what must be done has two meanings. First it poses a demand for urgent solutions to America's greatest problem the crisis of the urban ghetto and the black community. But it also refers to what can be done and what must be done by you the listeners. Because nothing stimulates action as effectively as the demand of an Arabist population. This series of programs takes as its point of departure the award winning issue of Newsweek magazine published last November the 20th on the Negro in America. Today's topic is employment. The members of our panel are Mr. Lowry mots general editor for Business Newsweek magazine Mr. Don Sleeman director of civil rights department AFL CIO commissioner still. Tyson chairman New York City Human Resources Administration Mr. Gary Robinson director
Opportunities Industrialization Center of Roxbury Massachusetts and Mr. RJ Miller vice chairman Ford Motor Company of Detroit Michigan. Today gentlemen we're going to discuss what is possibly the most critical of all of the problems of the ghetto employment as a problem goes beyond mere statistics of the number of people working unemployed. It covers such things as the kind of jobs available to people and the kind of income earned by those who are employed before beginning the discussion I'd like to cite some very interesting figures provided by the New York urban coalition a nonwhite graduate they say has less of a chance of finding a job than a white dropout. That's point number one. But. Just as important when he dives he earns fifteen dollars less a week. This is perhaps a good indication of the problem and the cost of the series we will cover every important problem of the ghetto. But in the long run it boils down to this. Can the
people in the so-called inner cities make a better life for themselves by upgrading their income can be unemployed find jobs. Can those in jobs be upgraded to improve their income problem such as education housing and health into related to these questions. Newsweek magazine's special issue on the Negro in America boiled down to these major problems by stating that in a broad sense the problem is poverty and specifically black poverty. Newsweek also went on to say that the very uncomfortable fact is that there are 22 million negroes in this country and 40 percent of them are officially classified as poor. I should like now to begin our discussion by turning to Mr. Larry mots Newsweek's general editor for Business to amplify on the picture of employment among the black population. Mr. Marx the writer really really really has been displaced the late great best in years. We need those words through you know what we need
is to leave he was 71 he meaning your employees and he again is one of the three d. The fact is that the census has missed a great many good road warriors so that we don't really know or even that that is that if the suspicion is the actual information they amount to 30 to 40 percent. No worries of joining a group for the first thing is that we have to consider the economic benefits to the person himself and if those can be taken for granted. The economic benefits to society can do considerably more. The president's Council of Economic Advisors has estimated that if the poor if the rule were actually taken into society the gross national product would revel in twenty three point seven billion dollars a year. Practically everything we can do is worth it for us. We were going to reduce the world
variables to keep families together to break the poverty cycle. Perhaps the most important thing you can do is to restore the pride of the person that the dice are loaded against people like you. The problem is just that all the negroes are 11 percent of the workforce they are the only 6 percent of the professional and technical directors. 3 percent of the moon is your realtor 6 percent of the jobs in skilled trades. He just doesn't have a chance and if you do is manage to get you to go through the entire Risher under sequence that we like to think this society is about is media newcomers a black college graduate there's 5000 wounded in 48 hours. The weight mandates knowing for a surgeon to room where can you go.
I think that's a good point. What can that be done. I think to know what can be done we have to first know what the problem is the problem has been stated from the point of view of Mr. Marks I want to commission you Tyson if you might both identify the problem as you see it. And later we'll ask you to say what can be done. Thank you very much Mr. Sutton. First let me indicate that if we look at the data presented by Mr. Maher should it has even more revealing dimensions really for a percent of the black population is defined as poor. And if a third of the remaining 56 percent is underemployed we've got 66 percent of that minority population that is in real trouble. If that was reflective in the white society as a whole major kinds of institutional reorganization would be demanded. I think that an understanding of the problem must be inclusive of
the understanding that the minority community has been left out of the mainstream of economic growth. The issue is not just jobs. The under the under employment rate indicates that even those with skills cannot move through the economic system that we are now suffering from 300 odd years of of discrimination and prejudice and segregation. If we really understand the implications of this then we must know that many a patchwork won't do two turkeys and every basket at Christmas instead of one is not the issue. Philanthropic approaches are not the issue. May as social service programs round needed is not the answer that there must be fundamental institutional change in all sectors of institutional life. A rearrangement internally within these institutions if we're going to
solve the problem it's further complicated by the fact that we're going through periods of course of technological change and the issue is not just automation which eliminates certain jobs but this is also specialization. Those jobs which remain are requiring by criteria higher credentials not necessarily related to the job. So that there is an intent you ation process going on which varies it makes it impossible for the minority community secure jobs in addition of those jobs that are available there most often jobs that whites no longer want. And at this time in history which is different than during the 30s in the last depression you find minority individuals indicating quite clearly that among other reasons they don't want jobs that are the rejects of the larger white society. So that if we begin to understand this dimension then we've got to
hone in on more fundamental institutional change not just patchwork not just frankly training programs not just. How in some way do we keep them in a conveyor belt. We've got to really take a look at the way the institutions have been structured which have made it possible for this sort of exclusion historically and we've got to come to grips with that problem is just naming down this main menu not only our director of the civil rights department of a hammer CIO but you have a past history as the director of the Jewish neighbor Commission and the Michigan Neighborhood Commission for Human Rights there in Detroit. What do you see as our problem in black American employment. Well I think the stock dimensions of the problem have been adequately handled by the two previous speakers I think to what I wrote to put it into the pot to do it to get so thin that the bill will produce straight through results is some prospective or what has and
hasn't been done to date already figures given so far strikes me as accurate but the fact is that. There has been so moved when I started to work at the National AFL CIO about 1015 unemployment rates would double for me grows as the general population. There's still the but there's a difference in those rates. In 1950 writing the employer the employee retreated Monday Gross was fourteen just said today it's down below he just said I would still doggedly in the service series from having done enough but we have done the things which have handled part of the problem and I say we have to do little more of what has been successful as well as discussing abstractly the need to restructure a lot of things.
One of the problems we have is the large Court of this country including a lot of our political leadership things that we have for the rebels. The fact is although we've made substantial progress in reducing the way we have for all workers and specifically for my narrative group workers we still have too much unemployment. It is true however that if we put everybody to work in any job this does not solve the problem. He's said we have to talk. Time to jumps but it is important that people work rather than be unemployed so getting people jobs while not sufficient is necessary. We also have to continue to finish the job of eliminating discrimination. We have to realize that just as you Discrimination is not sufficient that it is necessary. We have to
have. Special educational training programs because even if there are jobs and there is still discrimination. The fool out of the 300 years of the present education gaps will leave situations for many people that they will be left in a position where they cannot get a good job even if there is no discrimination and even if jobs exist so that well. Manpower training is not sufficient to do so or so necessary so that when we are dealing with is a colonel plex trouble we have to finish the job of equal opportunity. We have to maintain and extend the level of total employment and economic health. Surely not go backwards. And then with Ed. We have to ensure the kind of make up training and education that is left to hundreds of thousands if not millions of people from the fool out of lack of
opportunity in the education system and society in general. Now we have to do all of these things to continue. We also have to make sure that we don't go backwards. Gary Robinson before becoming executive director of the Opportunities Industrialization Center there and drops by our messages is you look directly at the Office of Economic Opportunity is right for neighborhood employment center part about 20 years. What do you identify as the problem in employment in America. First of all I think that's a black employment black employment in America. Well I think that's a very complex problem. I think it takes and in fact it does take in education training the social environment in attitudes of the people in this country. When we talk about solving the problem very honestly I deal more so in
local problems than in national problems. And I'd like to address the problem at a local level. First of all I'm not a segregationist but I do believe that one of the problems in solving the problem. It has to be done basically at two different areas. One is in the right community and also the black community has a responsibility. And to me and from what I have seen in my community I believe that once we straighten out our problems within our community it will definitely help us move forward. I don't believe that the black people as a whole in this country. I've really have the power to execute effective change throughout the country. I know that reports have been written since the day one people talk about a lot of things being
done. I know that in my time as director of the Roxbury neighborhood employment center that we had quite a few shocking things happen in this country with the death of Martin Luther King being the last one and being in a position that I was in which was primarily the majority of the black residents in Boston. I had expected some type of sympathetic response to Martin Luther King's death in industry calling in saying well look if we want to do here here's some extra jobs. And very honestly in the two years that I was director of the Roxbury neighborhood employment center the attitudes of the employees had not changed in my community at all as far as really providing meaningful upgrading jobs for people. And when we talk about solutions you know I think that there's two types of
solutions that we're going to. Two types of ways to approach it. One is the future and one is now and I think that each particular area has its different dances. You know we talk about equal opportunity as far as employment as long as the black man we sees the type of education that he does in the community schools. There will never be equal opportunity employment because he cannot get the academic and the technical education to compete for the jobs that the future holds open with promise. We talk about what can be done now very condensed early I think to maybe a real evaluation of existing jobs. And I think it may be my pet. But take for instance the welfare office. I think that in most communities this quite a bit of problems with the welfare department. Now I have neighborhood workers on my staff and at other community organizations have these type of neighborhood workers that have an ability to relate to the people of that
community have more compassion in their heart and can perform these jobs much better than a lot of people I've seen with master's degrees and Bachelor of Science degrees. So I actually think that you know we should look along these lines from you know upward mobility with people without the technical background at this particular time. Mr RJ Miller and its fellow aide Ari J. Wind there your advice to them is the Ford Motor Company but in addition you hold many of the titles one of them is that you're going by the Committee for Economic Development in the National Industrial conference. Right but more important you have concern yourself for some time for the problems facing American employment in the black community. I wonder if you would identify the problem as you see it. Thank you very much Mr. Sutton. Yes it certainly is true that unemployment is at the black community in our cities as one of the serious problems facing our country which are many others in the city but the one we're talking about today is
unemployment. And that's the one that really fits best my own business background because if there's one thing that the business establishment of America is supposed to do is provide jobs during last fall green a 66 day strike against the Ford Motor Company. The officers of our company had time to contemplate on this question we thought what can we do better after the strike is over than we did before. So even for the close of the strike we announced a new trade committee a new recruiting program that differed in two major respects from our. Prior practice in the first place we decided to go right down into the ghetto or into the established community action centers and do our employment right on the spot there. We thought that many people because of prior frustrations and so forth were reluctant to apply for jobs at the plant gate so we trained 12 interviewers put them in the ghetto employment centers and started to hire people right on the spot even to the extent of having our own doctors down there so they could pass the physical he would be turned down because of physical plant gates.
The second major change was that we completely suspended all of our written tests. We thought that perhaps these tests were testing the cultural background of the individuals rather than their ability to hold a job. We thought also are that competent people sometimes get afraid to take a test so we'll toss these out and we and our tribe interviewers go down into the cities and gave them the instruction try to hire the people not try to screen them out we took people with criminal records and other backgrounds and we would not have taken before. There were other special help that we did have in my less important character in better orientation provide the best transportation meal tickets and so far. You might ask how is the program working out. I would say in general very well indeed. In the first place we were greatly heartened by the individuals in the ghetto that wanted to work. This was only announced by word of mouth in the Detroit Committee on the Thursday on Monday when we said we'd be ready to hire over 5000 people lined up. We had decided to say I had to turn many of them back because we
just were unable to process that many were talking of you as you can only hire but let's limit the number because we wanted to talk to each person about half an hour. We think we're reaching the right people because the statistics show that 73 percent of those that we hired were unemployed the rest of them were underemployed the jobs part time and in the wash rack service stations washing et cetera. Eighty percent of our hires were high school dropouts in the time since last October when the program started. We hired 3500 from the inner city and in addition there are another 2000 from the inner city unwilling to wait for their turn at the interviewers screwed up their courage to the point where they did go out the plant gates and so we hired 5500 from the inner city. Now we keep track on the computer once a week on how these people are doing versus the same 8000 now that we've hired over the same time. We're pleased to say that our retention rate is marginally higher than the ones that were not hired from the ghetto. Secondly they are judged well by their employers they
say that on average I think they're doing a somewhat better work than those that they have not been hired from the get go. So in the getting them on the rolls we think we've made a good start this same program is now abroad and on a national basis with the Henry Ford second on the National Alliance of business but there are still problems ahead Mr. Marson and Mr. Brown into the mission upgraded netters and we know we aren't home yet but at least we think we've made some encouraging progress. I want to find my switch back to Commissioner Tice and we're going to go skating began a selection of say white I mean plenty of lies today in America. Parent and what Black unemployment is today in America. The general unemployment rate is averaged out at three point eight. And white Americans know that still white and black America. My position is that except for the operation reason there is really fundamentally no right on employment that is their rights that are moving from job to job. But you cannot square off the high unemployment rate within the ghetto areas throughout this country be they Mexican American Indians or black
folks against this three point eight national average. Unless you understand that fundamentally there is no right on employment except for that major Appalachian bell. In fact there are jobs going begging where industry can't understand why minority people don't take those jobs and part of the reason is again some of them don't want to take the rejects of right America that of the jobs that writes a lot of the long run I indicated rather that if we if we begin to deal with the rate of unemployment in the minority community as a as a country type situation we come to grips with the problem. One other point I think it's important Mr. Sutton but we depart just for a moment because I want to assure the U.S. gentlemen and. I want to get at is asked supporters area has an unemployment rate of cool three times in the shack community is that in the white community. He just said Mr. Tyson if these whites want employment. The rate of black unemployment there would be
some structural change or Yarosh up question about it. What do you mean there. It would mean that we would have to take a radical look at our institutional structures not just you know how do we get a couple more people on the job and I might even say not how we deal with it because of the backlog of work even out of the strike as good as that might be. But we have to fundamentally question the rate in which our economic system is structured. Who are the deals with how we categorize the jobs. The qualification for jobs we have to begin to define is the gentleman from Roxbury indicated what is considered productivity. If there are plenty of people who have skills with working with people how do you define that in productive terms so they get paid for those kinds of skills in marketable ways rather than saying in effect that this is another kind of activity that has no productive value. So the point related to that is we ought not to be confused with P.C. figures.
You can keep a 30 percent unemployment rate for the next 20 years but if the real numbers of people unemployed increase because you have an expanded labor pool that's the problem. Secondly the key data is not any of this. The key data is the median income gap. And the median income of black America as against white America that median income gap is right any right America on a median income basis has a greater income capacity now as against blacks than 20 years ago so we're dealing with a relative problem and if we don't understand that then we don't understand the anguish in the cry from the frustrations of these communities. Yes which he misled us. I would like to take just part of it because Mr. Leeson has taken in so many problems with us we have a lot of problems. Yes but I want to say that while it is true that just looking at percentages don't tell you the whole thing I think we need a little precision. I don't quite agree that there's no way to do it except an Appalachian.
I think I could show figures that teenage white I'm going to sire the head of the grill. I'm going because the fact is that we do have certain groups that make the major part of the oil employment. Negro youth unemployment rose to 30 35 just said adult the group living is still improved tremendously. Even though we have to look at the quality level of the job so we do have to be a little precise about the statistics. I wonder if I might switch now to you missed another ending to you Mr. Robinson. We want to wrap up we only have three minutes now. We've just gotten started but we now have only three minutes now Mr. Mynors I believe there has been a change in employers added to in recognition of the problems have been discussed here today and employers generally are willing to go out and help those that have missed the increase in productivity of our economic
system. I think we are prepared to offer jobs to those that have been bypassed and more importantly to help them move up in the ladder of economic progress after they have first obtained a job saw we played ask you even if you've been frustrated in the past to come on out and try to get share the progress that our total country is experiencing. Thank you Mr. Robinson. Well I certainly hope that what the gentleman just said is so but unfortunately I think that maybe this might be a a local situation instead of a national situation. I believe that manpower varies in different communities. I know that people talk about how many jobs that private industry is providing. I've looked at proposals that have made people sick with the quality of the type of employment that people are receiving six million dollars coming into areas professing to train people dead will be in doubt. The PR people A B gas station attendants. Basically if you're talking about
so-called hard core people very realistically when you take into consideration what it costs to live today people will not work for a dollar seventy five a dollar 90 cents an hour. It has to be more than that in the types of training programs that we have getting in our communities do not provide any more income than when I just stated late minute 15 seconds. I want to say that we agree that what has been done so far is not enough. We need special efforts we're happy at the lightning data to give employers like the Ford Motor Company. We agree that it's not universal. We think that they have to be special programs one train and one sharps. We are having those of our own if we have a discussion on solutions I will discuss some of them but I want to really emphasize strongly that we have to go forward and not backwards.
Mr. Hayes commissioner Tyson 15 seconds. Yes I would I would just simply indicate that as I talk to the people on the street their position is quite clear. If Black Lawyers are not yet in the legal departments of major corporations significantly and black accountants some Eunice's example are not in controlling departments of major corporations that is if those risk ales are underemployed. Can you seriously ask me to believe that you really are going to provide real opportunities for me so that my pitch here is that industry has to show significant upgrading significant upgrading results people of technical skills that they already have in order to get the person on the street to believe that they're serious. Bass and gentlemen this concludes today's edition of rock must be done. We by no means think we've done in-depth study of the problem but we do hope in our very next program to get the same participants back. We have Mr. Hardie never
heard nor the company Mr. Robinson of rock star in Mexico says Mr Moxon generator to the business of Newsweek magazine has slain him. The civil rights director of the NPR CIO and Commissioner Sarah Tyson of the Human Resources Administration the Sinjar family human resources in the state of Sydney are the system for the next program into Syria when we will cover another aspect of America's urban crisis. What must be done was created and produced by Sam chase by Debbie IP radio in New York. In her operation with Newsweek magazine I'm pretty certain same Thank you for our peril. This program was distributed by the national educational radio network.
What must be done
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University of Maryland (College Park, Maryland)
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For series info, see Item 3635. This prog.: Employment. Arjay Miller, vice chairman, Ford Motor Co.; Don Slaiman, director, Civil Rights Dept., AFL-CIO; Cyril Tyson, chairman, New York City Human Resources Administration
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Producing Organization: WLIB (Radio station : New York, N.Y.)
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University of Maryland
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Chicago: “What must be done; Employment,” 1968-09-30, University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed February 23, 2024,
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APA: What must be done; Employment. Boston, MA: University of Maryland, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from