A Tale of Two Job Markets: Black America and Silicon Valley


If you see the news today you should know that that we are still in the midst of an unemployment crisis. Even though things have improved since the height of the recent recession, unemployment levels still are at an all time high. The areas that appear to be the hardest hit are places with high populations of minorities. North Carolina has seen unemployment rates as go as high as 15% and African leaders have declared that we are in a state of emergency .  I can honestly say that this high rate is not due to minorities not trying to find employment and  people have even said that discrimination is now playing a part in minorities ability to find employment.  But whatever your opinions are about the reason, the fact is that the problem is real and is not going away and even though many people try to ignore  the problem. It is a part of our everyday lives.

On the other hand there is another job market that many of you may not follow as closely, the tech market.  There is a significantly different phenomenon occurring there, a resource crunch.  In this market companies can’t find resources fast enough and offer lavish compensation packages to woo candidates to jump ship from one prominent internet company to another. If you ask anyone is this market they will tell you it’s a sellers market if you have tech skills.  If you ask anyone hiring  in this market their immediate response would be ” Show us the person  with the skills and we have a job for them!” So you may ask why i mention this two markets together, well there are several reasons:

  1. Are they really looking everywhere? i recently met Tiffani Bell, who was a participant in the NewME Accelerator, a program that place African American internet company founders in Silicon Valley to learn from the internet’s best and brightest  and attempt to bridge the race divide in the technology start-up world.  This program will actually be profiled by CNN’s Black in America series in November.Tiffani is a technical founder who is a fluent coder in several languages who would be a great addition to any internet company. But tiffani lives in North Carolina, far away from where these companies typically recruit. So the first question is if the crunch is so severe, why not widen the search outside your normal patterns?
  2. Why not create  a workforce? While i understand some heavy technical positions require unique expertise there are many others that people can do with a decent amount of training and opportunity. So my other question is why don’t some of the tech giants who are in a crunch set up shop in places like North Carolina and train some of the thousands people there in the skills they are looking for? It would actually end up being cheaper for the company, they would acquire  loyal employees and  continue to grow their business.
  3. African Americans there is an opportunity here: While i do believe there are things these companies can do to extend the opportunities I also have to push us to seize the opportunities ourselves. It is easier today to get up to speed in technology development today than it’s ever been. And there are people that look like you making strides in the tech world. And they like me are willing to point you in the right direction but you have to take the first step and be willing to learn what’s required.

Here’s to hoping all three of these things change for the better soon.

Families of Color Will Pay the Price of an AT&T-T-Mobile Merger

You mention the Pew Study but fail to mention how it shows that wireless has been the biggest driver for getting people of color online and how it has elevated our access to timely informatio­n. And how many small businesses owned by people of color have used mobile devices to create new opportunit­ies and grow their businesses­. I know you are just doing your job and I appreciate your passion but I ask that share the whole picture so that don’t misinform the very people who are fighting for.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

Families of Color Will Pay the Price of an AT&T-T-Mobile Merger

While i appreciate you putting the issues of people of color center stage I do think you need to give the complete picture here so that people are properly informed. First, T-mobile will not remain on it’s own because it’s parent company has already made comments that it will no longer invest in it so someone needs to acquire it or everyone who works for T-mobile will lose their jobs. I think you can agree that is worse than any jobs the could change due to a merger. Also you don’t mention that the merger will allow for coverage for close to 97% of Americans most of which are people in color and people in rural areas that currently don’t have access at all. The merger will allow this to happen faster and more efficientl­y than through a build out. You seem to have an issue with AT&T prices but you also want them to so things in a way that would surely drive prices up.
You also don’t mention the jobs that would be created by the rollout of the combined 4G LTE network that would put even faster mobile access in the hands of people of color.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost