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  Dallas event to bring together technical professionals from across the U.S.    Alexandria, VA (BlackNews.com) -- The ...
Frank Forte, Publisher at Asylum Press, named guest editor for Heavy Metal #271, ...
Second Annual Partnership with Northwestern University features three plays In Rotating Repertory in the Steppenwolf Garage, ...
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The NAACP issued the following statement after President Barack Obama’s nomination of ...
Support from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois is one more ...
Charges Aggressive Foreclosure Tactics Imperil Minority Homeowners ATLANTA, Ga. -  In a letter sent recently ...
Several candidates running for the 2nd Congressional District seat left vacant by former Congressman Jesse Jackson, Jr.'s ...
PHILADELPHIA—Christopher Castillo, 22, of Philadelphia, was charged in an Indictment with producing and selling counterfeit ...

Archive for September 2nd, 2015

Landmark Agreement Dramatically Changes Solitary Confinement in California

Posted by Admin On September - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

CHICAGO, IL — Uptown People’s Law Center (UPLC) congratulates the prisoners and their attorneys on reaching a settlement in Ashker v. Brown, which will require massive changes in the use of solitary confinement in California’s prisons. This settlement builds on massive hunger strikes organized by thousands of prisoners across California (the last one involving 30,000 prisoners), and is the product of years-long intense litigation by a team of dedicated attorneys, including friends of UPLC at Center for Constitutional Rights, California Prison Focus and Legal Services for Prisoners with Children.

The settlement is an important victory, ending California’s widespread practice of indefinite status-based solitary, which resulted in California having the country’s largest solitary population. In status-based solitary, prisoners are put in solitary confinement based on alleged gang involvement, not actual rule violations. Now, prison officials will have to prove that prisoners committed serious violations of specific rules before sending people to isolation, and in most cases, people cannot be kept in isolation for more than two years.

Uptown People’s Law Center is concerned with exceptions contained in the agreement, which will allow California to keep some prisoners in long-term solitary for at least a decade. Whether these exceptions will in fact be rare, or will ultimately swallow the rule depends on continued vigilance by the judge, attorneys, family members, and ultimately the prisoners themselves. UPLC also feels strongly that two years in complete isolation will inevitably damage people, sometimes irreparably. Several studies have shown that solitary confinement can cause problems including panic attacks, uncontrollable rage, hypersensitivity to noise and/or touch, paranoia, and memory problems, which often persist even after leaving prison. Steps taken to reduce isolation, such as daily group activities, could help mitigate this.

Illinois prisons send prisoners to indefinite solitary, without charges or a meaningful hearing, based on their alleged status as members of “security threat groups.” Prisoners in Illinois are regularly kept in solitary for years, even decades. UPLC’s pending case, Coleman v. Taylor, seeks to limit solitary in Illinois to those who commit the most serious rule violations, eliminate status-based solitary, eliminate long-term solitary, and ensure that those sent to solitary are not deprived of the minimal conditions required to avoid long-term damage to their mental and physical health.

“We hope that Illinois will follow California’s lead and begin to examine alternatives to its excessive use of long-term solitary confinement. Illinois sends people to solitary too often, for too little, for too long, and keeps them in inhumane conditions,” said Alan Mills, Executive Director at Uptown People’s Law Center.

Uptown People’s Law Center (UPLC) is a nonprofit legal services organization specializing in prisoners’ rights, Social Security disability, and tenants’ rights and eviction defense. UPLC currently has ten pending class action lawsuits regarding jail and prison conditions.

See the Center for Constitutional Rights’ press release here.

Read the Chicago Tribune article about UPLC’s solitary confinement lawsuit here.

Munger: Nonprofits are and Will Remain, Top Priority

Posted by Admin On September - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Comptroller committed to paying most vulnerable

CHICAGO, IL – Comptroller Leslie Geissler Munger released the following statement Tuesday in response to a Federal Court’s denial of a motion to hold the state in contempt of court over payments tied to the Ligas Consent Decree impacting services for people with developmental disabilities:

“I am grateful to the Court for recognizing that our office has done, and will continue to do, everything in its power to ensure that the state’s budget shortfall does not impact payment for services for people with developmental disabilities.

“Since being sworn into office eight months ago, I have made payments for those serving our most vulnerable my top priority. Long before I assumed public office, I spent years volunteering for an organization serving the intellectually and developmentally disabled – and I saw firsthand the pain that is caused when the state does not meet its obligations in a timely fashion. As the state’s Chief Fiscal Officer, I have made it my mission to ensure that other organizations do not face similar hardship.

“I have traveled the state meeting with nonprofit and social service providers in recent months, and whether I’m in Rockford or East St. Louis, the message is the same: to truly bring relief to those serving our most vulnerable, Illinois must pass a balanced budget.”

Clayborne’ s Legislation Aims to Increase Minority Participation in Professional Services

Posted by Admin On September - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

In an effort to boost minority and disadvantaged businesses’ participation in state contracting, Majority Leader James Clayborne (D-Belleville) sponsored legislation that aims to generate economic activity for businesses that participate in the Minority Business Enterprise program (MBE). The new law requires each state agency and public higher education institution to adopt policies to increase participation of MBEs in professional services contracts to no less than 20 percent of the contracts bid.

This legislation is primarily intended to increase minority business participation in the insurance industry, investment management services, engineering, accounting, legal services and information technology.

“This new law shows that Illinois is willing to make a long-term investment in small businesses,” Leader Clayborne said. “Minority businesses’ participation needs to increase to ensure consistent growth, which will help stimulate the surrounding community. Statistics of disadvantaged businesses’ participation in state contracting isn’t encouraging. New policies specifically targeted at minority business growth will produce more middle-class jobs in minority communities.”

The new law also requires the Business Enterprise Council to submit an annual report to the governor and General Assembly detailing how state agencies and higher education institutions plan on increasing their minority participation.

The new law takes effect immediately.

Acclaimed Author Releases Softcover Edition of “A Defining Moment” – A Pictorial Book That Chronicles President Obama’s Historic 2008 Campaign

Posted by Admin On September - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

A Defining Moment By Patricia Duncan

Denver, CO (BlackNews.com) – Denver-based awarding-winning photographer and author Patricia Duncan announces the release her highly acclaimed book, A Defining Moment: Barack Obama – The Historic Journey to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave in soft cover (Sept. 8, 2015). The book provides an introspective look at Barack Obamas historic path from a rising star in the Democratic Party to the nations first African-American president.

A Defining Moment is a 184-page softcover, pictorial coffee table book, which contains over 300 never-before-seen photographs and speeches, chronicling President Obamas story-book rise from a junior U.S. Senator from Illinois to the first African-American president U.S. history. His ascendency began with a strategic visit to Colorado to campaign for U.S. Rep. Ed Perlmutter in 2006 and court the support of Colorado Democratic Party delegates and rainmakers two fateful years before capturing the nomination for president in 2008.

Duncans second edition, softcover book features an array official coverage of the historic 2008 National Democratic Convention in Denver. The book comprises speeches delivered by prominent Democratic Party luminaries including the late U.S. Sen. Edward Kennedy, Congressman John Lewis, Hillary Clinton, and former President Bill Clinton, First Lady Michelle Obama, Martin Luther King III, among others.

Duncan received inspiration to publish her first book from the sage advice from her sister, the late Honorable Vikki Buckley, Colorados first African American and twice elected Secretary of State.

“She spoke these prophetic words to me: ‘If you have a dream and a goal, you must go after it; stay focused and accept the good with the bad. You may get knocked back two steps before you can take one step forward, but don’t quit! If you work hard and keep God first in your life, you will persevere,” Duncan said. I have endured several challenges in bringing this book to fruition but the labor of love has been well worth it.

Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock praised Duncans book as a literary masterpiece that captures one the most memorable and monumental moments in the 21st Century a moment that forever changed U.S. history and the nations political landscape.
A Defining Moment made its first debut in March, 2011 as a hardcover book. In 2012, it was nominated for a NAACP Image Award: Outstanding Literary Works of a Debut Author. The highly acclaimed book was inducted into the Library of Congress (June, 2012) and sold out in hardcover in 2013.

A Defining Moment will be available for sale on Amazon.com and at www.adefinmoment.com. Duncan will launch A Defining Moment book tour with Conversation and Book Signing with the author Patricia Duncan, Sat., Sept. 19 Cherry Creek Harbor Event Center and Oct. 24 at the Blair-Caldwell African American Research Library to coincide with the books release. Duncan is available for special appearances and book signings. To contact her or preview portions of A Defining Moment, visit www.adefinmoment.com.

Photo Caption: Bookcover



Cook GOP Presents Flip Illinois 2016

Posted by Admin On September - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

PALATINE, IL — The road to getting a Republican in the White House is through Cook County. It is no secret that one major reason Governor Rauner won the governorship is because the Republican Committeemen and the voters in Cook County delivered the vote.

We will repeat that success in 2016 with our FlipIllinois2016 program.

The goal of the Cook County Republican Party’s FlipIllinois2016 program is to flip Illinois red by helping elect the Republican nominee to President of the United States of America in 2016. This is something our state has not done since President George H.W. Bush was elected in 1988.

Our FlipIllinois2016 strategy involves programs to develop the base in Suburban Cook County and in Chicago. We will strengthen our established bases while adding new voters in locations where Republicans are historically underrepresented. We have a focused Ballot Integrity Program we are putting in place. Protecting every polling place in Cook County is extremely important in 2016, when we will face Election Day in-precinct voter registration without photo ID.

This fall, Cook County Republican Chairman Aaron Del Mar will invite different GOP Presidential candidates to meet Republican voters in Illinois. We are asking voters across Illinois to vote on their top 5 favorite candidates. Vote at this link: http://flipillinois2016.com/who-should-we-invite/. The last day to vote is Sunday, September 27th.

The Cook County Republican Party is in high gear preparing to be one of the driving forces in Illinois to flip Illinois from blue to red. Make no mistake: in 2016, the Cook County Republicans are going to flip Illinois back to supporting a Republican in the White House! We invite voters across the State, and especially in Cook County to work with us to FlipIllinois2016.

Important Links:

Twitter

Facebook

www.flipillinois2016.com

Important Dates:

Petition Circulation Begins: Tuesday, September 1st.

Cook County GOP Central Committee Meeting: Saturday, September 5th at 11:00am (Cook GOP Suburban HQ, 765 N. Quentin Rd., Palatine, IL).

First 2015 Human West Nile Virus Deaths in Illinois

Posted by Admin On September - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD, IL – The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) has confirmed the first two human West Nile virus related deaths in Illinois for 2015.  The Cook County Department of Public Health reported a resident in their 90’s became ill at the end of August and has died.  Separately, the Kendall County Health Department reported a resident in their 70’s became ill at the end of July and has died.

“Although we’re getting closer to the end of summer, you still can be at risk of getting West Nile virus,” said Illinois Department of Public Health Nirav D. Shah, M.D., J.D.  “It’s important for everyone to continue taking precautions like wearing insect repellent and staying indoors between dusk and dawn.”

IDPH reported the first human case of West Nile virus in Illinois this year on August 19, 2015.  Last year there were 44 human cases, including four deaths.  Cases in human are underreported.

West Nile virus is transmitted through the bite of a mosquito that has picked up the virus by feeding on an infected bird.  Common symptoms include fever, nausea, headache and muscle aches.  Symptoms may last from a few days to a few weeks.  However, four out of five people infected with West Nile virus will not show any symptoms.  In rare cases, severe illness including meningitis or encephalitis, or even death, can occur.  People older than 50 and immunocompromised individuals are at higher risk for severe illness from West Nile Virus.

Surveillance for West Nile virus in Illinois includes laboratory tests on mosquito batches, dead crows, blue jays, robins and other perching birds, as well as testing sick horses and humans with West Nile virus-like symptoms.  People who observe a sick or dying crow, blue jay, robin or other perching bird should contact their local health department, which will determine if the bird will be picked up for testing.

Remember to take some simple precautions to reduce the number of mosquitoes around your home and protect yourself from being bitten.  Precautions include practicing the three “R’s” – reduce, repel, and report.

  • REDUCE exposure:  Minimize being outdoors when mosquitoes are most active, especially between dusk and dawn.  If you go outside during these times, take precautions.   Even if mosquito numbers seem low, it only takes one bite from an infected mosquito to transmit the virus.
  • Make sure doors and windows have tight-fitting screens.  Repair or replace screens that have tears or other openings.  Try to keep doors and windows shut, especially at night.
  • Eliminate all sources of standing water where mosquitoes can breed, such as old tires, buckets and other receptacles, or refresh the water in bird baths, flowerpots and wading pools every couple days.
  • REPEL:  When outdoors, wear shoes and socks, long pants and a long-sleeved shirt, and apply insect repellent that contains DEET, picaridin, oil of lemon eucalyptus or IR 3535, according to label instructions. Consult a physician before using repellents on infants.

  • REPORT:  Report dead birds to your local health department.  In communities where there are organized mosquito control programs, contact your municipal government about areas of stagnant water in roadside ditches, flooded yards, and similar locations that may produce mosquitoes.

Additional information about West Nile virus can be found by logging onto www.dph.illinois.gov/topics-services/diseases-and-conditions/diseases-a-z-list/west-nile-virus.

Gov. Bruce Rauner Proclaims Workforce Development Week

Posted by Admin On September - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

SPRINGFIELD. IL – Governor Bruce Rauner proclaimed this week, August 31 – September 6, 2015, Workforce Development Week in Illinois to highlight the vital role education and training play in helping Illinois residents prepare for in-demand careers, that provide employers with a skilled, qualified workforce to grow our state’s economy. Workforce Development Week celebrates a new era of collaboration and coordination of federal, state and local resources and workforce development programs under the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), which went into effect July 1, 2015.

The Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity along with the Illinois Community College Board, Department of Employment Security, and Department of Human Services are leading efforts to modernize Illinois’ workforce development system through WIOA.  These agencies work with other state and local agencies to create career focused programs such as Illinois Pathways, a public-private partnership promoting STEM education.

“The people in Illinois are second to none,” Department of Commerce Director Jim Schultz said. “A career-based, employer-driven workforce development system is vital to helping our residents reach their full potential, compete for 21st century jobs and build strong, productive careers, while growing our state’s economy. I want to commend our Local Workforce Boards for all their hard work building a comprehensive and coordinated workforce development system in Illinois. ”

Through a network of 22 local workforce areas, community based organizations, education and workforce providers come together to address the needs of dislocated workers and individuals with barriers to employment, including veterans, persons with disabilities, youth, and low-income individuals to connect them with employment and training opportunities that will help them achieve self-sufficiency and economic prosperity.

WIOA replaced the Workforce Investment Act of 1998 and set national standards for modern workforce development efforts. This bipartisan legislation emphasizes an employer-driven approach through career pathway programs, integrated work-based education and training and the coordination of services. The act also expanded the role of Local Workforce Boards, to ensure workforce programs and services are aligned in a way that meets worker and employer needs.

Under the WIOA, state agencies, education partners and community-based organization come together through, the Local Workforce Boards to work with  private employers on creating  employer-focused strategies,  to address their need for qualified workers and ensure participants are competitive in the job market.

CBCF Announces Phoenix Awards Recipients: Legendary Civil Rights Activists and the First Black Fraternity to be Honored During the 45th Annual Legislative Conference

Posted by Admin On September - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS
WASHINGTON, D.C. – The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, Incorporated (CBCF) today announced the honorees for the Phoenix Awards Dinner, the culminating event of the 45th Annual Legislative Conference (ALC). President of the North Carolina State Conference of the NAACP, Rev. Dr. William Barber, II; Civil Rights attorney and activist, Fred Gray; civil rights pioneers, Juanita Abernathy and Amelia Boynton Robinson; and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated will be presented with the Phoenix Award at the black-tie dinner, 6 p.m., Sept. 19, at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C.

“The honorees this year embody the spirit of sacrifice, service and leadership to our country and underserved communities,” says A. Shuanise Washington, president and chief executive officer of the CBCF. “Each has worked tirelessly to advance equal rights and protections for African Americans.”

Rev. Dr. William Barber, II will be honored with the CBC Chair’s Award. Barber was instrumental in the release of the Wilmington Ten and has been a mainstay in the national grassroots movement for educational, economic and equal justice for more than 19 years. Barber continues to lead the fight for voter rights in North Carolina and health care reform, labor and worker rights, protection of immigration rights, and reparation for women survivors of Eugenics.

Fred Gray will be honored with the ALC Co-Chair’s Award. Gray is best known as the first civil rights attorney for Rosa Parks and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. During the civil rights movement, Gray’s litigation efforts led the way in tackling desegregation, integration, constitutional law, racial discrimination in voting, housing, education, jury service, farm subsidies, medicine and ethics, and the judicial system.

Civil rights activist Juanita Abernathy will receive the George Thomas “Mickey” Leland Award and fellow civil rights activist Dr. Amelia Boynton Robinson will receive the Harold Washington Award. Abernathy is the wife of Rev. Ralph Abernathy; she helped to organize and lead the historic Montgomery Bus Boycott in her home state of Alabama from 1955 to 1956. Abernathy continues to advance her husband’s legacy through lectures and service to civic and religious organizations.

Amelia Boynton Robinson is one of the organizers of the Bloody Sunday march to Montgomery, Alabama. The photo of her beaten unconscious at the foot of the Edmund Pettus Bridge circulated around the world. In March, she commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Selma marches by walking across the Edmund Pettus Bridge hand-in-hand with President Barack Obama.

Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated will receive the CBCF Chair’s Award for its diligence in cementing Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s legacy with a memorial on the National Mall in Washington D.C. Alpha Phi Alpha, of which Dr. King was a member, is also being recognized for its national programs to mentor black children and mobilize minority voters.

Proceeds from the Phoenix Awards Dinner benefit the CBCF’s many programs and initiatives. To purchase tickets and register for the ALC, visit cbcfinc.org/alc.

Top 10 Back-To-School Scholarships for Black and Minority Students in 2015/16

Posted by Admin On September - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

Black student reading

Nationwide (BlackNews.com) –It’s that time of the year again! School is back in session, and high school seniors are being advised to start looking for and applying for available scholarships and internships. Every year, thousands of non-profit organizations, government agencies, and companies give away billions of dollars in financial aid. Quite a few of these programs are specificially for minority students – that is, African Americans, Hispanic American, Native Americans, Asian Americans, and sometimes even disabled students of all ethnicities.

Here are the top back-to-scholarships for Black and minority students in the 2015/16 school year:

#1 – Tom Joyner Foundation “Full Ride” Scholarship: awards a full scholarship to one student to attend a Historically Black College and University (HBCU). The scholarship is open to graduating high school seniors with high academic records. Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2013/12/tom-joyner-foundation-full-ride.html

#2 – Ron Brown Scholar Program: provides scholarship awards to African-American high school seniors who are excelling in their academics, exhibiting exceptional leadership potential, and actively serving in community service activities. Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2012/04/ron-brown-scholar-program.html

#3 – Coca-Cola Scholars Program: a very competitive program for high school seniors throughout the United States. Sponsored by The Coca-Cola Company, the largest soft drink company in the world, the program awards millions every year in college funding. Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2012/04/coca-cola-scholars-program.html

#4 – Apple HBCU Scholarship Program: offered to eligible college students who are in their final year of college at a HBCU institution. Eligible students include those who are majoring in Computer Science, Information Science/Technology, Mathematics, and/or Engineering. Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2015/08/apple-hbcu-scholarship-program.html

#5 – Amazon Student Scholarship: open to high school students who plan to attend college full-time. Students must plan to enter college in the Fall immediately after graduating from high school. This scholarship is based on merit, community service and leadership experience. Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2014/09/amazon-student-scholarship.html

#6 – Gates Millennium Scholars Program (The Bill Gates Scholarship) For Minority Students: awards scholarships each year to African American, American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian Pacific Islander American or Hispanic American students who plan to enroll full-time in a two-year or four-year college or university program. Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2012/08/the-gates-millennium-scholars-program.html

#7 – CIA Graduate Scholarship Program: open to graduate students who are in their first or second year of graduate studies. All eligible graduate students may apply, and minorities and people with disabilities are particularly encouraged to apply. Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2015/04/cia-graduate-scholarship-program.html

#8 – Xerox Technical Minority Scholarship: designed to help cultivate minority students for potential recruitment in the field of technology. The scholarship amount award depends on the student’s tuition balance, academic excellence and classification. Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2012/03/xerox-technical-minority-scholarship.html

#9 – United Negro College Fund (UNCF) Scholarships: provide an extraordinary amount of scholarship opportunities for minority students with financial need. Scholarships include educational assistance for students attending participating Historically Black Colleges or Universities (HBCU) and other colleges as well. Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2014/04/united-negro-college-fund-uncf.html

#10 – Buick Achievers Scholarship Program: awarded to students who excel in the classroom and give back to their communities. Special consideration is given to students who are female, minorities, first-generation college students, military veterans and military dependents. Learn more at www.scholarshipsonline.org/2012/04/buick-achievers-scholarship-program.html

Find hundreds of more 2015-2016 scholarships online at www.ScholarshipsOnline.org

Black Economic Empowerment: Pilot Entrepreneurship Program Aims to Train Black Business Owners for Success

Posted by Admin On September - 2 - 2015 ADD COMMENTS

By Hazel Trice Edney

WASHINGTON, DC – Cathy Hughes went from sleeping on the floor of her radio station as a struggling single mother to the ownership of the largest Black-owned broadcast company in the U.S. and the first publicly traded company owned by an African-American woman.

The late Ebony/Jet Publisher John H. Johnson, whose father was a sawmill worker and mother a cook, rose to become the first Black man to be listed among Forbes’ wealthiest Americans.

These entrepreneurs are often used examples of the thousands of African-Americans, who, through courage, ingenuity and tenacity have succeeded in every level of business ownership in America. And financial experts say entrepreneurship is yet growing among African-Americans across the U. S. despite the still frail 2015 economy.

The University of Phoenix School of Business aims to fuel that growth by backing a new entrepreneurial education and training program with a $500,000 grant. The pilot program, in partnership with the U. S. Black Chambers, Inc., (USBC), is set to begin Jan. 1, 2015. It targets African-American small business owners, including USBC members, in various cities across the U. S.

In a joint statement, the program is described as “a three-course, 15-week credit-bearing program that includes online classroom instruction taught by School of Business faculty, and takes students through courses including personal cash flow, market analyses and financial performance.”

The release says, “Students will create their business plans using this customizable program to develop a business model, strategy, financial forecasts, competition benchmarks and implementation and performance tracking.”

The USBC-University of Phoenix program comes amidst a growing trend of Black entrepreneurship across the U. S. In its most recent reporting on business ownership, the U. S. Census says the “number of Black-owned businesses increased at triple the national rate” between 2002 and 2007. More recently, in June this year, Forbes reported that the number of businesses owned by African-American women has grown 322 percent since 1997, “making Black females the fastest growing group of entrepreneurs in the U.S.”, according to a study commissioned by American Express Open.

Also, Black Enterprise recently reported an increase in entrepreneurship programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. The magazine said the growth in entrepreneurship coincides with innovative ways to deal with pessimistic job outlooks for youth and a still flailing economy and unemployment rates when it comes to African-Americans. Though Black unemployment rates recently dipped below double digits, it remains twice that of Whites. Black unemployment rates for youth ages 16-24 also exceeds 28 percent, twice that of White youth.

Targeting those who appear to be at the greatest economic disadvantage is apparently driving the new program, according to a release.

“University of Phoenix is pleased to partner with USBC to provide African-American small business owners and entrepreneurs an exclusive program integrating teachings from business courses with insights from local market experts who understand the economy in their communities,” said Byron Jones, chief financial officer, University of Phoenix. “The U.S. Black Chambers Business program allows participants to experience some of the most challenging exercises business owners undergo with the training, support and counsel they need from seasoned professionals with demonstrated success in owning and managing a business.”

The University of Phoenix is widely known for its degree programs for working adults. Working with the USBC and the 250,000 small businesses that it serves appears a natural fit. The new program also deals with the key issue in sustaining Black-owned businesses. That’s access to capital.

“Gaining access to capital continues to be a major hurdle for African-American small business owners, and properly navigating that process is often the difference between success and failure,” said USBC President/CEO Ron Busby, Sr. “We are excited to collaborate with University of Phoenix on this educational program to help provide needed resources to support Black entrepreneurs, and believe it is an excellent example of local leaders and educators working together to improve the lives of our citizens and communities.”

In that regard, despite the growth in Black-owned businesses, the Wall Street Journal reported last year that there had been a steep drop in loans to Black-owned business by the Small Business Administration. The percentage had dropped from 8.2 percent in 2008 to 2.3 percent in 2013, a decline that the paper described as “unusually steep compared with other minorities.”

Entrepreneurship experts who applaud the new program are also quick to point out that amidst recent crisis, African-Americans are simply rediscovering and reviving their historic ingenuity.

“Black entrepreneurship has been significant ever since we arrived in this country, we’ve always been entrepreneurs even before we got here,” says Jim Clingman, author, founder of Blackonomics.com, and founder of the Entrepreneurship High School in Cincinnati.
“It was very significant during the enslavement period and thereafter when Black enclaves were built and owned by Black people. And then in the sixties of course we began to abandon those businesses in favor of businesses other than our own. And now 60 years later, we’re back to starting more businesses and growing those businesses and seeing the value once again of entrepreneurship.”

According to a release, the rigorous USBC-University of Phoenix program includes an in-person micro workshop with USBC experts on “topics such as accounting and finance, marketing, operations and customer service”. The goal is “successful completion of the three program courses” which will lead to a feasibility plan ready to submit to a bank or microloan partner. The program is also worth nine hours of college credit toward a certificate at University of Phoenix.

“University of Phoenix is committed to discovering and developing the next generation of African-American business leaders, so the program with USBC small business owners is a natural fit,” said Ruth Veloria, executive dean, University of Phoenix School of Business. “Knowledge and training drive success. That’s why our certificate courses, such as those in the USBC program, will provide participants relevant skills that can positively and quickly impact their businesses.”

Photo Caption: Byron Jones, chief financial officer, University of Phoenix; Ron Busby, president/CEO , U.S. Black Chambers, Inc.; Mario Middleton, assistant dean, Specialized Programs & Diversity, University of Phoenix

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Welcome to CopyLine Magazine! The first issue of CopyLine Magazine was published in November, 1990, by Editor & Publisher Juanita Bratcher. CopyLine’s main focus is on the political arena – to inform our readers and analyze many of the pressing issues of the day - controversial or otherwise. Our objectives are clear – to keep you abreast of political happenings and maneuvering in the political arena, by reporting and providing provocative commentaries on various issues. For more about CopyLine Magazine, CopyLine Blog, and CopyLine Television/Video, please visit juanitabratcher.com, copylinemagazine.com, and oneononetelevision.com. Bratcher has been a News/Reporter, Author, Publisher, and Journalist for 33 years. She is the author of six books, including “Harold: The Making of a Big City Mayor” (Harold Washington), Chicago’s first African-American mayor; and “Beyond the Boardroom: Empowering a New Generation of Leaders,” about John Herman Stroger, Jr., the first African-American elected President of the Cook County Board. Bratcher is also a Poet/Songwriter, with 17 records – produced by HillTop Records of Hollywood, California. Juanita Bratcher Publisher

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