By Preston Love Jr.
For years North Omaha has been in the national ranking as one of the top five in poverty. We also rank high in many other unfortunate categories, teen employment, teen poverty, teen STDs and on and on. While the national unemployment rate is approx. 7.85 and locally reported as 3.7% , unemployment in North Omaha is in the double digits.
Poverty. The key solution to poverty is Jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs. With the increase of jobs come decreases in crime and other many residuals with our families and small businesses, including the list mentioned above. Gang violence and lawlessness all get affected when we get jobs and jobs affect poverty. Simply stated we need jobs.
North Omaha Black contractors need jobs. Providing these contractors with work is critical to this poverty formula and their survival. Black contractors in north Omaha awake daily with the prospect of moving around north Omaha and giving eye witness to public, private, and non-profit projects in their own community, with very little if any participation.
With few exceptions such as the city’s emerging and small business ordinance and a recent relatively large public works contract, (which was challenged by many) all parties public, private and non-profit are guilty of not contracting with black contractors anywhere in Omaha but more dramatically not in their own poverty stricken community. It is an affront to our community and affront to the contractors.
We have Black contractors who are capable. Capable of building houses, commercial building, laying concrete, electrical, renovation, roofing and participating in the nearly $2 Billion CSO project happening mostly in north Omaha. They do have problems raising capital, getting bonding, and obtaining credit. These problems complicate their world but the real bottom line is they are not getting the opportunities.
Black contractors challenge representatives from the public, private and non-profit sectors to come forward and initiate some serious attempts to employ these Black contractors. The spring approaches, when work abounds. Black contractors cannot continue to sit idly by while contracting opportunities abound. Contact can be made via Preston Love jr or directly with known contractors.