- Created on 01 April 2013
A new study shows a disheartening reality for African-Americans without a high school diploma. According to an online analysis of unemployment data by Remapping Debate, more than half of all male African-American high school dropouts are unemployed.
While still staggeringly high, the unemployment rate for Blacks who graduated from high school is almost half that of high school dropouts, at 26 percent. That number is almost four times the national average.
"This is an emergency, this is a catastrophe [but Washington is] not rating it as a catastrophe," said the site's editor, Craig Gurian, told The Daily Caller.
African-American males who dropped out of high school have a total unemployment rate of 51.6 percent. When Black female dropouts are added to the mix the unemployment rate for all African-American dropouts is 30 percent, said the report, showcasing the stark difference between the genders.
Even more disconcerting, those rates do not include people who have given up looking for work or part-time workers who want full-time jobs, according to Gurian.
The online data shows the unemployment rates for 270 subgroups of Americans analyzed over a 12-month period.
"What we do is analyze unemployment data from the Current Population Survey of the Census Bureau (the data that are used by the Bureau of Labor Statistics) from 2006 to the present — data for February 2013 (released in full by the Census Bureau's Current Population Survey earlier this month) are now integrated," said a statement on the group's website. "In order to account for seasonal variation and to reduce the margin of error, the results reported for each month represent a moving average of that month and the preceding 11 months."
Comparatively, the unemployment rate for African-American college graduates is 6.2 percent. It is 6.2 percent for Hispanic college grads.
White men with a college degree have the lowest level of unemployment, at only 2.9 percent, when averaged over the last year, according to the analysis. The unemployment rate for all college grads is 3.9 percent.
The unemployment rate is 18.9 percent for young people who only graduate from high-school and did not attend any college. It is 27.4 percent for all people who did quit high school without a diploma.
- Created on 29 March 2013
With Tax Day rapidly approaching, the IRS wants consumers and business owners to be on the lookout for a wide range of tax schemes. Illegal scams can lead to penalties, interest and in some cases criminal prosecution. Many of these scams can take place during any time, but the risk of falling victim of one of these schemes greatly increases during tax season.
Identity theft occurs when someone uses your personal information such as your name, Social Security number (SSN) or other identifying information, without your permission, to commit fraud or other crimes. In many cases, an identity thief uses a legitimate taxpayer’s identity to fraudulently file a tax return and claim a refund.
To help combat identity theft, the IRS has introduced new verification methods before issuing refunds. Also, they’ve dedicated 3,000 people working specifically on identity theft related cases, nearly double the amount they had in 2011. Additionally, a special section on IRS.gov has been set up with YouTube videos, tips for taxpayers and an assistance guide to help tax payers who believe they may have been a victim of identity theft. Taxpayers can also call the IRS Identity Protection Specialized Unit at 800-908-4490.
Tax Return Preparer Fraud
About 60% of taxpayers will use tax professionals to prepare their tax returns this year. Most tax preparers are honest, but if a tax preparer promises you a deal too good to be true, be leery. It’s important to choose carefully when hiring an individual to prepare your return. Only use preparers who sign the returns they prepare and enter their IRS Preparer Tax Identification Numbers (PTINS). Remember: Taxpayers are legally responsible for what’s on their tax return even if it is prepared by someone else.
“Free Money” from the IRS & Tax Scams Involving Social Security
A popular scam that preys on low income individuals, the elderly and members of churches involves “free money from the IRS,” and is often spread by word of mouth by well-intentioned people who tell their friends and relatives, without realizing this is indeed a scam.
One example of this type of scam involves telling victims they are eligible for a refund or tax credit via the American Opportunity Tax Credit. Con artists falsely claim that refunds are available, even if the victim was not enrolled in or paying for college. The promoters build false hopes and expectations, then charge people money for bad advice promising a huge reward. By the time the victims discover their claims are rejected, the promoters of the scam are gone and can’t be found. Intentional mistakes of this kind can result in a $5,000 penalty.
These are just few of the most popular tax scams the IRS wants taxpayers to be on the lookout for this tax season. If you or your business suspects you’ve been the victim of a scam, the IRS has a special section on their website with forms, information and phones to assist you.
- Created on 28 March 2013
Atlanta's Lauren Miller and Jason Brein, owners of Excelegrade Inc., have been awarded $50,000 to expand and enhance their small business. They were among five businesses selected for a grant from the MillerCoors Urban Entrepreneurs Series (MUES) Business Plan competition.
The MUES business competition has granted more than $1.9 million dollars in its 13-year history.
Excelegrade provides state-of-the art Web-based platforms for standardized testing for K-12 classrooms with assessments on tablets, smartphones and laptops.
As a former second grade teacher, co-founder and CEO Lauren Miller observed firsthand many of the obstacles teachers face when designing and grading educationally-beneficial assessments. Inspired to create an easy-to-use platform for designing and administering rigorous tests, Lauren teamed up with her Harvard Business School classmate, Jason Brein, to start Excelegrade.
Excelegrade saves teachers time and improves educational outcomes by allowing teachers to easily:
• Design Common Core-aligned formative and
• Administer assessments on mobile devices, laptops,
or by paper
• Automatically grade multiple choice questions and
streamline free response grading
• Track student performance by standard
• View and understand data
• Personalize learning based on student needs
"We are extremely thankful to MillerCoors for caring about urban entrepreneurs enough to provide these meaningful grants," says Miller. "We hope to build a successful business with the $50,000 grant that not only helps teachers and students but ultimately is able to pay it forward to other entrepreneurs in a similar way."
The winners will be presented with their respective business grants at a special reception on Thursday, April 25, at MillerCoors corporate headquarters in Chicago.
- Created on 29 March 2013
Getting to know new people, putting yourself out there, and following up on opportunities can get pretty intense. Then add the social networking aspect, things can easily take an awkward turn. BlackEnterprise.com talked with Nickie Robinson, president of GoodGirlPR, for pointers on interacting via social media — and in real life— to avoid awkward moments that could mean a lost opportunity to connect with and expand your professional network.
Find your authentic voice. Whether it be through writing, speaking or interacting face to face, find your voice and stick to it. Once you become comfortable with you, you’ll even be able to handle those unavoidable awkward moments. “Everybody is sending e-mails, everybody is doing Twitter, everybody is doing Facebook. [Confidence] kind of evens the playing field,” Robinson says. “Something has to be said about a person that has enough confidence and is put together who can knock on someone’s door and can pitch their business. And I think the people that have that skill are going to be the ones who can use social media and use that gift to get ahead in today’s economy.”
Don’t change your persona. Quite frankly, being completely different in person than what you are online can and will create an awkward situation. Be sure to create a balance between staying true to yourself and being cognizant of the fact that anybody can see what you post. “Be yourself on Twitter, and definitely speak from your heart,” Robinson says. “However, unless you have a private Twitter page you should definitely curb some of the things that you might say that could be misconstrued.”
Find ways other than social media to reach out to people. Let’s face it, if social media is your only way of connecting with people, you might be inclined to weird and awkward moments when corresponding in person. Remember that feature on your phone where you can actually hear someone’s voice? Use it. Find a way to relate to people in the real world. “[Go] old school, actually taking people out to lunch and sending thank you cards and doing things that are traditional but have more of an impact on business as opposed to [just] Twitter and Facebook,” Robinson adds.
Don’t assume that because you follow someone on Twitter, you know them. It’s pretty hard if not impossible to get to know someone through 140 characters or a status update. Please be conscious of the fact that social networks only present a small part of who someone is or what they represent. It does not give permission for one to address a person as if they’ve actually met them or know them personally. “Engage people online via social media but that shouldn’t be the life of the relationship,” Robinson says. “After you engage them, you should definitely follow up and try your best to get the person on the phone or in person.”
Make it a point to participate in networking events. The only way to get better socially is to actually interact with people. Make an effort to attend and actively participate in networking events in your city. Take small steps by interacting with coworkers after work or getting recommendations from peers who are part of trade organizations, volunteer groups, and social clubs.
Keep e-intros concise and don’t force connections with people. Making introductions online can be different from everyday, in-person communication, but the overall idea is the same: Be as concise as possible while including all of the necessary details, and check the tone of your message. Read it out loud if necessary to get a feel of how it’ll be perceived, Robinson says. “If I’ve had a great interaction with someone, I always make sure to follow up with a thank you card— handwritten— something that’s personal.”
- Created on 27 March 2013
Frank Savage has a theory about what it will take to bring down the rate of African-American unemployment, which is hovering at 14 percent, higher than any other group in the nation. He believes the answer lies in the creation of owner-operated businesses.
“Small businesses are responsible for rekindling the economy,” said Savage, the CEO of Savage Holdings LLC, a firm that advises businesses seeking to expand into global markets, especially companies that want to invest in Asia and Africa. “One of the things that disappoints me about the government is the lack of focus on building up small businesses.”
Independent business owners, he said, create more than 70 percent of jobs in the country. Savage, who has homes in Connecticut and New York, said he supports small businesses even though he spent most of his adult life working in large corporations.
He came by his affinity for small business earnestly. Born in Rocky Mount, N.C. in 1938, at a time when Jim Crow held a firm grip on the South, Savage’s mother decided when he was 6 months old to relocate the family, including Frank and twin sister, Frances, to Washington, D.C. Though it was segregated, the District offered better economic opportunity for Blacks, many of whom moved there seeking well-paying jobs in the federal government.
In his recently-published memoir, The Savage Way: Successfully Navigating the Waves of Business and Life, Savage details how the entrepreneurial spirit of his mother, Grace, helped to catapult him into powerful positions at some of the world’s most prominent financial companies, eventually leading him to start his own investment firm.
At a time when many Blacks were seeking the safety of a good government job, Madame La Savage, as his mother came to be known in D.C., went against the grain, opening a beauty parlor, originally called Savage Beauty Clinic, down the street from Howard University. After hearing about the International Beauty Show, a hair show held at the New York Coliseum, she traveled to Manhattan to showcase her signature cuts and hairstyles to stylists from around the world. The only Black stylist in the show, she returned to the District and changed the salon’s name to La Savage Beauty Clinic International.
Little Frank was watching closely. The lessons he learned from his mother became the principles that guided him in his own work—self-confidence, honesty and integrity, hard work and cultivating good relationships with clients.
Savage imparted the importance of those principles in his memoir. He wrote that he has long been enthralled with the world’s interconnectivity, an interest that fueled his first trip abroad, to Libya, while he was student at Howard University studying political science and economics with a focus on international relations.
Savage said he has always believed that a relationship with the rest of the world is key to economic prosperity for Blacks in the United States and has long encouraged others to travel widely and keep up with global events.
“I always felt it is most important for African Americans to be involved on a global level and to understand the rest of the world—their cultures, their practices, their languages,” Savage said.
After graduating from college, Savage picked up a master’s degree in 1968 in international studies from the Johns Hopkins University’s Nitze School of Advanced International Studies. He followed that with a job in the international division of Citibank, then in business as the First National City Bank of New York.
He was the only black officer in the division. He worked in Saudi Arabia for two years, then in Monrovia in the bank’s Liberia operation for two more. A disagreement with the vice president of the Middle East Africa Division of the bank led him to quit, he said.
“It made me lose faith in the bank,” he said of the squabble. “It made me lose faith with my future in the bank.”
Ironically, later that year—1970, the federal government created a new program to provide equity for small Black businesses. That program would become important to Savage and other Blacks who hoped to become independent business owners down the line.
Over the next three decades, Savage climbed the corporate ladder. He served as chairman of the board of Alliance Corporate Finance Group, Inc., chairman of Alliance Capital Management International and a member of the board of directors of Lockheed Martin Corp.
From 1999 to 2002, Savage served on the board of directors of Enron Corp., a Houston-based energy company that collapsed in 2001 amid allegations of manipulation of energy and securities prices. Employees and shareholders lost nearly $11 billion in investments. Many of Enron’s executives were charged and convicted of financial crimes. New to the Enron board, Savage escaped from the controversy with no convictions, but it tarnished his reputation, he said.
“I was tainted by it although I had nothing to do with it,” said Savage. “It was almost impossible for me to raise capital.”
A hobby that he had picked up 20 years prior to the scandal helped him to recover his peace of mind—ocean sail boat racing.
It took five years for Savage to regain his reputation, he said. To stay in the game, he started his own global finance firm, Savage Holdings, LLC. He has recovered nicely. He is former chairman and trustee-emeritus of the Howard University board, a survivor of the Enron scandal and architect of a company that manages roughly $700 billion in investment money.
And when he needs a break, he heads out on his sailboat.
(Photo: Frank Savage CEO of Savage Holdings LLC. Courtesy Photo)