In the late 1970s, amidst growing unemployment in black and Latino communities, the newly-formed Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) supported the Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in its call for full employment in the run up to the passage of the Humphrey-Hawkins Act of 1 978. Never fully implemented, the act has been de facto an unfunded mandate for close to 40 years. Only recently has it been resurrected by a handful of lawmakers, while both discussion and support for a national jobs program has begun to gain steam in the media and the general public. With support from labor market research and other empirical evidence, we propose and outline for a bold policy: a National Investment Employment Corps to provide a permanent job guarantee for all citizens with the purpose of maintaining and expanding the nation's physical and human infrastructure. Given the disproportionate effect of the recent economic downturn and labor market bias on African Americans and Latinos, we argue that a National Investment Employment Corps program would address the employment needs for blacks and Latinos by assuring full-employment and simultaneously ensuring long-term benefits for the nation's well-being.

This content is only available via PDF.