According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, race and age demographics reality tell us that a majority of the next generation of U.S. workers will have to come from these type of poor communities. And as the country is making this transition, the focus on preparing this population from these communities to the workforce must also change. Since it's estimated that minorities will have to make-up to 36% of the U.S. workforce by 2010, and must represent close to 50% of the total workforce by the year 2050. A comparative look at the current population growth rate of minorities' shows, they will represent over half of the total U.S. population by the end of the 21st century (See, Table 1). Therefore, making it simply obvious, this will be the population group that will make or break our economy in the future. It's vital that we start developing a national coordinated plan to prepare and assemble this population for this inevitable conclusion.
The starting point of this effort should begin in our public education system, where currently minorities make-up 64% of the students in our nation's top 100 school districts (see, Table 1). We feel now is an opportune time - as our nation's economy and educational system is at it's most vulnerable state in history with greater global competition for jobs and services. We must respond with a unified strategy to organize and build partnerships between our schools, local businesses, institutions of higher education, and community base groups towards establishing a sound foundation in this new competitive environment. To do so, we must demand a higher level of learning from our minority youths to maintain our economic growth and prosperity as their population continues to grow.
Table 1, for example, shows Hispanics are expected to be nearly one-third of our nation's population by the end of the century. Yet, their participation in our educational system has not reached its full potential. A majority of the population is dropping out of our high schools, face langue barriers, and occupy jobs with low economic security. If we can develop a strategy that will improve their academic performances in our educational system, along with the nation's other largest minority group - African-Americans, we would be able to start developing a strategy that could focus on job creation with a higher-skilled workforce capacity to match their growth rates.
U.S. Minority Growth Rate in Population, Education, and Labor, 2010-2100
- *The total minority estimated population and projected growth rate.
- Hispanic estimated population and projected growth rate.
- African-American estimated population and projected growth rate.
- The total minority student enrollment and projected growth rate in the nation’s 100 largest school districts.
- The total minority labor force and projected growth rate.
The data for the chart is from the U.S. Census Bureau's 2004 population projections, the United States Department of Education's 2000-2001, listing of the largest school districts by enrollment size, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics projections from its Labor Force Change, 1950-2050. We then calculated following exactly the Census Bureau's assumption about future birth and death rates of the U.S. population, To project the future minority population, the student enrollments, and labor force participant rate. It is important to note these projections are estimated as closely as possible, even though several of the Bureau's assumptions may have been mistaken, do to the exclusion of the illegal immigration population.
*These projections are before the U.S. Census Bureau's final 2010 population projections, which are projected to be even higher for the minority population growth rates (Please see, the Appendix section for those new projections).