Stronger Houston: Bridging the unemployment gap for people of color

HOUSTON – Meka Diamond lost her job as a part-time executive assistant when the insurance company she worked for shut down one year ago at the beginning of the pandemic. She’s been looking for a steady paycheck ever since.

“I had to face the fact that I can’t go back when I want to go back,” Diamond said.

Diamond said something to fall back on. She owns her own marketing and consulting company. But being your own boss in a pandemic hasn’t been easy.

“I just had to pivot. I had to figure out how I can make my job, my company work until something else was found for me,” Diamond said.

While the economy is showing signs of recovery, the pandemic has disproportionately affected people of color. Women, especially, had been hit the hardest.

In the latest national jobs report from February, the unemployment rate for black Americans rose to 9.9%, the highest among all groups that are tracked. Black and Latina women are facing the highest unemployment rate among all women with 8.9 % and 8.5% respectively. While the unemployment rate for white women is 5.2%.

“I can place a regular posting on social media and we will literally get hundreds of calls from people that are looking for work and want to go to work.,” said Carla Lane, President & CEO of Lane Staffing.

Houston-based Lane Staffing bills itself as one of the largest African American-owned employment placement companies in the Southwest. Lane is helping Diamond navigate the challenges of finding work.

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