As the 2012 U.S. presidential campaign heats up and debates how to ignite a fragile economic recovery, the Greater New Orleans Community Data Center recently released a study demonstrating the need for New Orleans to “place greater emphasis on building the education and skills of its future workforce in a more inclusive way.”
The study estimates in a conservative scenario that New Orleans metropolitan area will be a “majority minority” area by 2030 with 52% of its population being working age adults of color. As white workers retire, they will be replaced by minority workers. However, the metro’s current share of African American and Latino adults with an associate degree is significantly lower than among white adults. Early work experience and education are critical for adult economic success, yet minority youth who comprise the fastest growing proportion of the metro workforce “are disproportionately more likely to be disconnected from school and work.” The study concludes that growing jobs must be combined with developing a workforce for the future. Workforce development is critical to be able to attract companies to an educated and skilled workforce. The full study is available here. It is co-authored by Susan Sellers, Andre Perry (of Loyola), Petrice Sams-Abiodun (of Loyola), Allison Plyer, and Elaine Ortiz.
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