People Of Color Missing From High-Wage Careers

youngmenAfrican Americans, Native Americans, Latinos and Asian Americans adults are underrepresented in high skilled, high status occupations, such as management positions.

Researchers found African Americans employed in managerial professions at 40% the rate of White Americans (Bigler et al.). High concentration in low-skilled occupations and low representation in high-skilled occupations leads to lower wage earnings and wealth accumulation for members of ethnic minority groups.

>> Culture Plays Role In Hiring Gap <<

This gap in the number of ethnic minorities in high-skilled occupations will have a harmful effect on the entire workforce.

By 2030, people of color are projected to make up 45% of the working-age population, up from 18% in 1980 (Symonds, et al., 2011). Economic and racial gaps in education and skills attainment lower the number of people qualified to work in high-paying occupations — occupations needed for the country to maintain or increase its technological, production, and economic statuses.

What can be done?

Education and career development researchers often show evidence that people who are given relevant information and career guidance make better decisions about their postsecondary and employment plans (Holland, 2010; McDonough, 2014; Adelman, 2006, Bangser, 2008; and NCDA, n.d.).


  • Adelman, C. (2006). The toolbox revisited: Paths to degree completion from high school through college. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education.
  • Bangser, M. (2008). Preparing High School Students for Successful Transitions to Postsecondary Education and Employment. National High School Center.
  • Bigler, R. S., Averhart, C. J., & Liben, L. S. (2003). Race and the workforce: Occupational status, aspirations, and stereotyping among African American children. Developmental Psychology, 39(3), 572-580.
  • Symonds, W.C., Schwartz, R.B., Ferguson, R. (2011). Pathways to Prosperity: Meeting the Challenge of Preparing Young Americans for the 21st Century. Pathways to Prosperity Project, Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Get Your GED For Free in Minnesota

Graduation cap and diplomaThe General Educational Development (GED) is a high school diploma equivalent that has lifelong benefits that include helping Minnesota WorkForce Center customers and other job seekers to be eligible for better, higher-paying jobs or start a pathway to a new career.

The GED tests usually cost $120. Now through the end of June 2016, GED testing is available at no cost to eligible Minnesotans. Check out the links below for more information:

MN Department of Education link with information about the free GED

Minnesota Public Radio news blog

3 Ways To Make Career Fairs Worth Your Time

1) Show up.

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.” ~Wayne Gretzky

dontbelateEmployers hire PEOPLE not resumes. If you don’t go to the career fair you are missing a prime chance to talk directly with a hiring manager or other employees at the companies you want to work for. You will also miss the chance to find out about companies and opportunities you were not previously aware of.

Get dressed, be prepared and GO to the job fair.

2) Have a plan. Work your plan.

Continue reading

4 Ways MN Employers Can Address Disparities TODAY

Income and wealth among Minnesota’s Black families is falling at a time when the state’s economy is strong.

suitA large contributor to this crisis is Minnesota’s growing employment disparities. Recently Black and Brown Minnesotans are reportedly much more likely to be unemployed than White Minnesotans with the same job qualifications – some reports say African Americans are four times more likely to be unemployed than White Minnesotans.

We all have a role in increasing economic equity in our state. Continue reading