Submitted to the AFRO by Congressman Elijah Cummings

Americans want to work -and we must help them to succeed

Americans want to work – and for many, employment prospects are finally looking up.  Nevertheless, far more needs to be done.

Unemployment, which reached nearly 10 percent during the depths of the Bush Recession (16 percent for African Americans), has been cut; and for millions of our countrymen and women, this is welcome news.

Yet, for far too many other working families, especially Americans of Color, the positive national economic statistics must seem to describe someone else’s country -an almost mythical society in which no one is struggling to find a good job that will pay enough to take care of their family.

Rep. Elijah Cummings (MD.-7) . (Courtesy Photo)

Far too many of us are struggling to find work – or working two or even three jobs just to make ends meet.

Why, if our economy has improved, do millions of Americans – especially African Americans – remain trapped in slow-moving unemployment lines or marginal positions with no future?

The answers to this central question are complex, but it seems clear that they are both political and practical in nature.

Our Continuing Struggle in Washington to Create Jobs

Despite the creation of only 20,000 jobs nationally in February, our overall rate of unemployment nationally remained around 3.8 percent (3.7 percent in Maryland).  Yet, these promising numbers disguise a continuing, recession-levels unemployment in too many urban and rural areas.

Specifically, the jobless rate for African Americans (7 percent in February) remains nearly twice the overall national average.

Here in Maryland, the employment prospects for Black families are somewhat better, due primarily to the strong presence of federally funded agencies and programs.  This, however, is why the looming budget battles in Washington are so important to our local economies.

We must be clear-headed about the threat posed by Republican efforts to drastically cut federal agencies and programs that are essential to our wellbeing here in Maryland.  President Trump, despite his campaign promises to create jobs and lift wages, is seeking to slash the budgets of federal agencies and cut key job training and related employment programs in the U.S. Department of Labor.

In short, we are in a fight for the economic future of our community – a fight that we cannot afford to lose.

Connecting Marylanders with Good Jobs

Even as we must keep up the pressure in Washington to fulfill the promises of full employment and better wages, we also must continue to do all that we can to address the fact that far too many good jobs are going unfilled here in the Baltimore Region.

This is why, once again, my office will be hosting our 22nd Annual Job Fair in Baltimore on April 1 (9 am until 2 pm at the Morgan State University Field House, 1700 E. Cold Spring Lane).

Over the years, I have learned that we can be most helpful to job seekers by bringing them together with employers who are ready to hire. This year, the majority of the nearly 80 employers that will be participating in our Job Fair will take resumes onsite – and many will be interviewing on the spot.

At our 2019 Job Fair, we once again will be offering direct support here in Baltimore to those who are seeking to improve their lives.  Here are some highlights.

We will offer a seminar on working with the Federal Government. Representatives from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management and the Social Security Administration will offer participants feedback and guidance on how to apply for federal government jobs from an actual Federal HR Employer’s perspective.

We have also invited several service providers that will supply resources for people as they continue to look for employment.  Attendees will be able to attend free workshops on resume writing, interview techniques, and how to use social media in their job search.

We also will have a workshop to provide helpful information for ex-offenders who are searching for employment.

In addition, people are often unaware about how issues with child support can be barriers to employment.

We will also have representatives from the Maryland Department of Human Services who will assist people with their child support cases, helping people figure out what they owe, how they can get current with payments, and assure that their records are accurate.

Once again, The Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation will be at our Job Fair to offer essential employment assistance.  Their American Job Centers Mobile Bus will be on site to walk participants through their job search services, ex-offender re-entry services and Veterans resources.  A Computer Café will provide real-time online job search assistance, and we’ll have “Resume Doctors” on site to provide resume writing assistance and critiques.

As always, we are offering our April 1, 2019 Job Fair to job-seekers at no charge.  However, those who are interested can give themselves a competitive advantage by visiting our House website in advance to obtain a listing of the participating companies and government agencies, as well as to confirm directions, public transportation and other relevant information.

Past experience has demonstrated that people do obtain good jobs at our Jobs Fairs. Many others have built upon all that they have learned at our Job Fairs and followed up by utilizing our City’s One-Stop Career Centers, conveniently located at 3001 E. Madison Street (410-396-9030), and Mondawmin Mall (410-396-7873).

Baltimore County and Howard County residents have found similar help at 7930 Eastern Boulevard (410-288-9050 ext. 424), 3637 Offutt Road (410-887-8912, or 7161 Columbia Gateway Drive (410-290-2600).

Americans want to work.  Both in Washington and here at home, we must continue to invest in their dreams.

Working together, we can rebuild both our economy and our communities.

Congressman Elijah Cummings represents Maryland’s 7th Congressional District in the United States House of Representatives.

The opinions on this page are those of the writers and not necessarily those of the AFRO.
Send letters to The Afro-American • 1531 S. Edgewood St. Baltimore, MD 21227 or fax to 1-877-570-9297 or e-mail to

Congressman Elijah Cummings

Special to the AFRO