Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Executive Leadership

First Supervisor

C. Michael Robinson

Second Supervisor

Linda Doty


Since the 1950s, federal government policies have developed anti-poverty programs that attempted to address urban joblessness among African American males. However, these programs have resulted in discriminatory social practices that increased marginalization and exclusion of this population. In addition, structural changes in urban economies and shifts in labor market dynamics have also contributed to the growing number of unemployed African American males over the last four decades. With the increase in the frequency of joblessness among urban African American males, their communities have experienced the emergence of a new element to poverty, an element implicating an underclass. The emergence of this underclass is emphasized by segregated neighborhoods, disproportionate rates of adult joblessness, a lack of participation in the labor market, and unemployed adults and adults who never accessed the labor market. The purpose of the study was to understand the perceptions and lived experiences of unemployed African American males and their challenges to accessing the labor market. Data collected from the study can be used to inform policies to include the labor market experiences of unemployed African American males to utilize this input in the planning process, as well as governance in designing local community economic development programs. Data were primarily gathered in the study using semi-structured face to face interviews with unemployed African American males. The study is significant because it examined the labor market experiences and perceptions of unemployed African American males so that local neighborhood and economic development initiatives offering workforce development can better meet the needs of this population.

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