Staff Report

LAUDERDALE, Fla. – While the overall unemployment rate for Broward County is a respectable 4.2 percent, below the region, state and national average; a recent review of unemployment in the Broward Municipal Services District (BMSD) suggests that the rate in areas with predominantly black populations is much higher, in some cases more than 30 percent. In addition, the median household income in the BMSD is more than 50 percent lower than Broward’s overall median income of $51,574.

In an attempt to help rectify the disproportionate employment statistics, the Broward County Commission, at its meeting on June 14, approved a new program that will target the high unemployment rate and low incomes in the BMSD. The Employment Self Sufficiency Program would provide training and employment opportunities for unemployed residents over 18 who reside in the BMSD. The proposal includes partnering with non-profit organizations that are selected through a competitive selection process and will provide specialized job readiness classes, a path to GED / special diploma attainment, job placement, vocational and job skills, budgeting skills and employment for participants.

“Job training and creation is essential to meeting our goals to improve the quality of life of our residents in the Municipal Services District,” said Assistant County Administrator Alphonso Jefferson, Jr. “This new program will work with our community partners to bring down an unacceptably high unemployment rate in the BMSD.”

One key objective of the program is to provide employment opportunities by increasing employability through educational and vocational support. The county’s goal is to increase the number of self-sufficient and employable residents with enhanced skills and market ready employment opportunities.

Service areas that would be involved in the effort include bus shelter maintenance, sidewalk pressure cleaning, improving county owned property including entranceways, and graffiti removal, among others.

A new mobile-friendly website was launched last year to specifically serve approximately 15,000 residents living in the Broward Municipal Services District, formerly known as Unincorporated Broward.