Increased adult education may help the high Hispanic unemployment rate

PROVIDENCE, RI – The head of Rhode Island's Department of Labor and Training says the unemployment rate among Rhode Islanders in general and Hispanics in particular is far too high. Charles Fogarty was reacting to a new report that shows the Providence metropolitan area has the highest rate of unemployment among Latinos in the country.

The unemployment rate among Latinos in the Providence area exceeds 23 percent: a level not seen since the Great Depression. This, according to the Economic Policy Institute, a non-partisan think tank in Washington DC, which ranks Providence number one of 25 metropolitan areas in the country for Hispanic unemployment. It's the second year in a row the region has earned this distinction.

Charles Fogarty, director of the state Department of Labor and Training, says a lack of education is the primary cause. "Forty-four percent don't have a high school diploma versus 16.5% of our total population. So I think that's one of the big issues and it's one of the reasons the Governor's Workforce Board has and continues to devote a significant amount of its money toward adult education."

Fogarty says both the Hispanic unemployment rate and the jobless rate overall in Rhode Island --- eleven percent - are both unacceptably high.

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