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Gray Brings Business Leaders Together To Tackle Unemployment

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Developers, university presidents, CEOs, labor leaders -- Mayor-elect Vince Gray gathered approximately 40 of the city's major stakeholders, sat them down, and held a three-hour discussion on how to get more residents working.

Long term, everyone agrees the answer is education: Fix the school system and tailor the community college and other programs into high job-growth areas like nursing or cyber security.

But what about the short term?

"We've got a group of people right now who are unemployed and unemployable, despite the fact that we see a growing...cadre of jobs," Gray says. "What do we do about them? How do we get those people to work?"

Those answers aren't easy. Business leaders talked about the barriers to hiring some residents -- including criminal records, substance abuse issues, limited education and even a lack of so-called soft-skills, such as dressing appropriately for an interview or putting together a resume.

Gray says he wants the city's department of employment services to do a better job of addressing these issues.

Gray's opening statement, from GrayTransition2010.org:

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