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Madison Shooters, Unemployment, And Jobs

August 13, 2017

Madison has had a terrible amount of shootings this year, and deaths from gun violence.  I know there is a concerted effort to understand why the shootings occur, what can be done to change the culture, and also create opportunities for lost and wayward young black men.

One of the arguments I hear in personal conversations, as well as with media accounts, revolves around the lack of jobs in our city.  We are blessed with low unemployment, and that can, understandably, create fewer places for a young, unskilled person to have as a first job to add on a resume.

But again today, while reading the dining section in the Wisconsin State Journal, I came across a story about the 46-year-old Colonial Bakery needing to close due to “a shortage of help”.  Just a few weeks ago I was talking with a man who was working truly long days–and doing so day after day–in a coffee shop as there were no takers for the job openings.

I grant you that after the 100th cup of coffee poured for customers that gig can get tiring very quickly.  It probably takes longer to tire of the smell of bakery.  But in either case both places of employment are highly credible, straight-forward work to paycheck occupations.

But it takes employees who want to work.  And therein is too often the problem with some of our youth.

The jobs I listed and many others like them in our city may not be (and thankfully so) as adventuresome as running from the cops or trying to pick up hot spent cartridges so they can not be used as evidence.  But they are jobs that build skills, and even if not to ones liking, does build a resolve and incentive to study more, and work harder to get the type of job one desires.

While there are clearly job creation needs for the young black men in our community let us not forget that there are many jobs–though perhaps un-glamorous–that are waiting to be filled today. But complaining about life takes no skill.   It also is a crutch.

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