(RightWing.org) – Under President Donald Trump, minorities were winning at rates not seen in modern US history. For the first three years, a roaring economy lifted minority Americans; unemployment was down and incomes were up. Education for the minority community was also front and center for the president as a focus for continued economic gains among minorities. Additionally, a new emphasis was placed on job training skills, and money for schools was a high priority for the president.
However, one of the most consequential acts by President Trump was prison reform. New programs created through it offered a second chance to those incarcerated unfairly under old laws designed to end the war on drugs.
Let’s look at the four things President Trump did for minorities during his first term.
For decades, the black community experienced significant challenges in unemployment, which typically runs higher than white, Asian, or Hispanic unemployment. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), in 2018, unemployment fell below 6% for the first time. Hispanic unemployment fell to 4.5%, a record low, and Asian unemployment fell from 3.8% to 3.1%.
Another major accomplishment prior to COVID-19 was the gap between the general population and minority groups narrowed significantly. Under President Obama, the unemployment gap was 5.2%. However, under President Trump, it narrowed to 3%. Additionally, the monthly average job growth rate under Trump was 40% higher than Obama’s.
Without job training, good-paying jobs are unattainable for anyone. However, ensuring minorities have the right job skills is important to overcoming economic inequality. From 2017 through 2019, more jobs existed than people were available to fill them.
In 2017, Trump signed an executive order to spend $150 million for “earn-to-learn” apprenticeship programs. In 2018, the president encouraged the creation of non-college based training opportunities for 3.8 million workers over 5 years. Large companies like Walmart, IBM, Raytheon, General Motors, Home Depot, Microsoft, and FedEx were among 23 private sector entities to sign on to the president’s initiative.
In addition to non-college apprenticeship training, the president worked to expand educational opportunities at the K-12 level as well as Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU). The president argued every child should attend a quality private or public school. In Washington, DC, voucher and scholarship programs helped minority students get a better education, and the president pushed the programs across the country.
Additionally, Trump signed a budget bill that added $34.9 million in additional federal funding for HBCUs. The total amount now is $279 million in investment in black college students. In addition, $10 million was added to a Capital Finance Program fund to lower the interest rate for HBCUs that need to construct new buildings on their campuses.
Perhaps the most impactful and significant achievement by the Trump administration for minorities involved prison reform. The First Step Act replaced controversial legislation from the 1980s that incarcerated people of color at disproportionate levels in the war on drugs.
The bipartisan bill achieved the following successes by the end of 2019:
- Over 3,000 inmates were released, and 1,700 people convicted of minor drug convictions received reductions in their sentences.
- The “three strikes” rule was reduced from life in prison to 25 years.
- 16,000 federal prisoners received drug treatment programs.
The bill also added $50 million for prison programs including, education, drug treatment, and job skills training.
Under President Trump, minorities saw increases that benefited at the fastest rate in generations. His record in one term on civil rights was a significant accomplishment for the minority community.
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