Where is the job?

William T. Robinson, Jr.

William T. Robinson, Jr.

During May and June you will have thousands of young men and women graduating from colleges and universities ready to embark in the job market in their specific field. They are excited and optimistic in starting a new chapter in their lives. However, their enthusiasm and zest is often short lived in their inability to secure a job in their chosen field. This is a common problem but more prevalent when it comes to people of color, especially African Americans.

Often it is not that you are not qualified, but job selection is often privy to nepotism and whom you know. It is not always about the most qualified individual getting the job, regardless of the myth that the most qualified contender always gets the job. Too many factors are accountable for people of color not being able to secure decent paying jobs. This being the fact puts many young African Americans on the back burner because usually those in the position of hiring cater to those who look like them. We all know that most jobs in corporate American are run and dominated by people of Eurocentric ancestry.

After countless attempts to secure a job in their field, many African American graduates are relegated to find a subservient job below their academic qualifications just to pay the bills. To add to the nightmare, many of them have astronomical debt from student loans kicking in not too long after they graduate. Many college grads are forced to work low paying jobs just to keep afloat. Many young people feel they have been deceived because all their lives they have been told if you acquire a college education you will be able to get a good paying job and be successful. All too often this is not the case, especially in the African American communities where you can find many Black college educated adults working lower paying jobs out of their field. Too often, not only are they over qualified for their positions but make less money than their White counterparts. But nonetheless, we ingrain in our children that without a college education your chances for making a comfortable living is almost nil.

Many times you find those in an advantageous position blaming the graduate in contributing to their own conundrum by majoring in the wrong field or not pursuing a higher degree to be competitive. Out of desperation and inability to secure a job, you find many college graduates going back to college to secure higher degrees or pursuing a career in a more marketable area. Continuing the education pyramid adds more to mounting loan debt, which can be a lifelong albatross around one’s neck. While this problem may not be as prevalent among many Whites, I have heard a growing number of parents of African American graduates discontented in a system they feel has failed their children. The ability to pursue a decent paying job is often made even harder from a graduate of an HBCU when you have White employers who favor graduates from their predominately White universities. The lack of an economic Black base makes young Black graduates susceptible to the mercy of predominate White run businesses.

The question remaining is how can people of color overcome such obstacles? First we must overcome the myth that college is for everyone and support our children pursuing for entrepreneurial endeavors. College is good for many, but if a young person has a gift to run a business (especially a trade where they can be their own boss), let’s support them and help them realize their dream. Black run businesses will be in a better position to hire other Blacks. Don’t be blind, it is a practice utilized by all ethnic and racial groups, be they Asian, Hispanic, or have European ancestry.

Not trying to discourage anyone about continuing secondary education, but one must realize that education is largely about money.

Most employers usually offer an apprenticeship to their employees to aid them in becoming knowledgeable about the job. However extending educating requirements promote jobs to many venues, whether they are selling books, providing testing materials, or jobs in the capacity of staff, teachers and administrators. The bottom line is minorities are hurting in finding or securing decent higher paying jobs in the job market and it must be addressed and corrected. If nothing else, African Americans must patronize and support qualified young Black graduates opting to own and run their own businesses. Let’s build our own economic base.