Criticism mounts against Michigan Works

Jacora Seymore needs a job. Larry Harb needs an employee. Both have tried meeting their needs -- so far without success -- through the Michigan Works program, the network of agencies charged with matching Michigan’s unemployed with employers.

Seymore, a single mother, who receives public assistance to support her two young daughters, fills out job applications at a Michigan Works office in Grand Rapids every weekday. “I’ve put in a ton of applications,” she said, “and I don’t know why I don’t get called back.”

When Harb decided to hire a bookkeeper for his Lansing-area insurance agency, he first turned to Michigan Works. He’s still looking for a qualified applicant -- and said he likely won’t try Michigan Works again.

“It’s not my first choice for a job search, let’s put it that way,” Harb said. “It’s probably my last choice. As a small business owner, it’s tough to find good people. I’ll argue there’s not a lack of jobs, but a lack of skilled workers.”

Seymore's and Harb's experiences were echoed by a key small business leader, who said Michigan Works isn't playing a proper role in matching employers and employees, and by a state audit report that found insufficient evidence to assess whether Michigan Works actually works.

Gov. Rick Snyder acknowledged the “talent disconnect” in a Dec. 1 special message calling for an overhaul of Michigan’s work force development programs, including Michigan Works.

“Today, too few workers have the skills needed to meet the demands of employers in the new economy,” he said. “Despite an unemployment rate (at the time) of 10.6 percent, thousands of jobs remain unfilled in Michigan.”

Michigan Works was created under the Engler administration in the 1990s as a network of regional agencies. About half the Michigan Works agencies are affiliated with local governments, and the rest are private, nonprofit agencies.

Each of those 25 agencies, with about 100 service centers all over the state, operates independently, administering a variety of programs, including a job search service for the unemployed; the No Worker Left Behind program, which provides training for the unemployed and for workers who want to find better jobs; and the Jobs, Education and Training, or JET, program, under which welfare recipients are required to seek jobs. In fiscal 2010, Michigan distributed almost $450 million in public funds to the agencies.

Historically, Michigan Works has focused on the unemployed person, not the employer, as its primary customer, Snyder said. He directed the state’s Workforce Development Agency and Michigan Works “to shift their efforts to a demand-driven employment strategy,” training and placing workers in the new skilled jobs of manufacturing, energy, healthcare, information technology and agriculture.

“A lot of people would come in and say, ‘I want to be a truck driver,’ or ‘I want to be a beautician,’ and we would train them for those jobs,” said Elliot Forsyth, a former software executive appointed last April as chief operating officer of the state’s Workforce Development Agency, which oversees Michigan Works. “We’ve changed the agenda to say, ‘We’re going to put people into jobs that are in demand.’”

If that effort is to succeed, it will require changing the perceptions of some employers that Michigan Works is the employment agency of last resort.

“If you talk to a small business person, most of them believe the Michigan Works system is not the place to go for new employees,” said Rob Fowler, president and CEO of the Small Business Association of Michigan. “My perception is employers are hiring people. They’re just not going to Michigan Works to get them.”

In a recent unscientific survey of its members, SBAM found that 70 percent of small business owners who responded said they don’t use Michigan Works when seeking new employees. Their comments were scathing:

“I need highly skilled help. They offer a giant list of wannabes.”

 "Have tried them in the past and received no qualified candidates, but many useless resumes.”

“Too many unqualified people. This agency of government is just one more way that they waste my tax dollars.”

“We used to, but after calling some of the candidates and being told they make more if they receive unemployment and work under the table, we stopped wasting our time.”

Auditor: Not sure if Michigan Works works

A report released by the Michigan Auditor General in July found problems in the state’s management of the Michigan Works agencies. The major conclusion was the state simply did not have the data to show how effective Michigan Works is in training and placing the unemployed in jobs.

The state should create a continuous quality improvement program to monitor how efficiently the 25 Michigan Works Agencies are spending the $375 million a year in federal funds they receive, the audit recommended. Some Michigan Works Agencies spent very little on training job seekers, the audit found.

“In many cases, Michigan’s changing work force requires additional education and/or training to become marketable in the current economic environment,” the auditors wrote. “As a result, we would expect participant-direct expenditures to make up a significant portion of (Michigan Works agencies’) expenditures. However, we noted that some MWAs expended as little as 3 percent, 4 percent and 12 percent of program funding on participant-direct activities.”

Because the Michigan Works agencies technically are not part of state government, the Auditor General could not directly audit their books. As a result, State Rep. Anthony Forlini, R-Harrison Township, introduced a bill that, if approved, would allow the Auditor General to review each Michigan Works agency’s records.

“What I found incredible was the amount of money that was going to bureaucrats and not going where it was supposed to go,” said Forlini. “My problem was there was very little scrutiny, very little oversight.”

Forsyth, the new Workforce Development Agency COO, agreed that not all Michigan Works agencies are performing up to standards.

 “With 25 different organizations, the truth is we have some that excel, and, likewise, I can tell you we have some at the other extreme,” he said. “We need to get on the same page strategically as to where the state should go, and that hasn’t been done with Michigan Works. I think it’s fair to say the Michigan Works system needed to focus much better on its customers, to be more efficient with its dollars and be more outcome based.”

Luann Dunsford, CEO of the Michigan Works Association, said most Michigan Works agencies meet or exceed federal standards. For example, 94.9 percent of adults who completed a Michigan Works program in 2010 found jobs in the following quarter, she said.

Many of those jobs, however, were part-time, making it difficult to determine how many workers found well-paying jobs in the new economy. Part of the problem is the Michigan Works Association is a nonprofit organization that provides technical support and training for the 25 Michigan Works Agencies, but has no control over their operations.

“When you ask me, is the system effective, I say, ‘yes,’” Dunsford said. “Is it perfect? No.”

Michigan's 'JET' still at gate

One Michigan Works program that is far from perfect is the JET program, created under the Granholm administration to help welfare recipients find work. All public assistance recipients are required to participate in the JET program.

Under federal guidelines, 50 percent of welfare recipients must participate in JET’s work-related activities. Only 27 percent of the state’s welfare recipients meet that standard, Dunsford said, adding that her association had warned from the start that the JET program would not meet federal participation requirements.

In 2007, the federal government penalized Michigan$24 million for failing to meet that standard, but recently reversed that decision. In 2008, the federal government withheld another $32 million -- a penalty that still stands.

The Snyder administration and Michigan Works are redesigning the JET program to meet the federal guidelines, Dunsford said, noting that a recent change in state law limits any individual’s lifetime welfare benefits to 48 months.

“My concern is we don’t have time to squander to help these people,” she said.

That’s also foremost on the minds of welfare rights advocates. Michigan Works needs to place more emphasis on educating the unemployed, said Marian Kramer, co-chair of the National Welfare Rights Union.

“If the jobs program has been so successful, why haven’t they found jobs for all these folks?” she asked in her Detroit office, filled with people soon to lose their welfare benefits. “People are coming in here facing eviction. You’ve got a whole generation of people who never had a job. The market is demanding people who need to be educated for these jobs, and they’re not getting it.”

That description fits Jacora Seymore, the single mother of two. She has a high school diploma and little work experience. She fills out eight job applications a day at a Michigan Works office so she can continue receiving public assistance, and she volunteers at a Grand Rapids charity that gives clothing and furniture to low-income families. Her spotty work record in fast-food restaurants and retail stores, which she attributed to lack of transportation and child care, makes her less than attractive to potential employers, she acknowledged.

As a child, Seymore, now 24, was in and out of foster care. She was homeless for a time and spent 30 days in jail for retail fraud. She recently got out of a domestic crisis center and is living with an aunt while struggling to support her 5-month-old and 2-year-old daughters.

In a year and a half, she will reach the 48-month lifetime limit for receiving public assistance, unless she finds a job first.

“Hopefully, I will find a job, and I won’t have to be on it (public assistance),” Seymore said. “You can see it’s not enough to survive on.

“I’ve heard people complaining about not wanting to get up and go to work. I’d love to get up and go to work. I really need a job -- especially with two kids. You feel like you’re failing your kids.”

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Comments

Thu, 01/05/2012 - 8:46am
I can say from first hand experience on a contract that I had with Michigan Works! that they squander money and overlook talent for personal favors. They cant create any value for their constituencies because they aren't necessarily looking to create value via their initiatives, they are simple moving around existing value (funds). Its a business model for booming economic times and just wont work in this decade or this century. Their employment retention and help model is antiquated. The federal and state government would be better off subsidizing an online data base (which already exists through Michigan Works!) and gifting computers to individuals. Instead of paying for facilities and non-subject-matter-expert staff. Their special efforts are wildly off track as well, they simple don't seek out or possess the talent to achieve their goals. Its as if they are trying to retain a grant or check instead of generating revenues and creating opportunities for the communities around them. I watch a 250,000 grant come into Michigan Works! to create a Bio Alliance to cultivate the industry in Michigan, and nearly all of it is gone...spent on the director's salary and a few luncheons for educators that speculate about the industry. I personally delivered a strategy to execute the "alliance" and presented what some would call an over qualification of resources for the position at no charge to Michigan Works, and was over looked to pay a salary to an existing employee of Michigan Works! executive assistant. Upon her appointment to her position, I was asked by the committee to select a director to assist her. This soon to be director called me to have a meeting to first understand what bio-manufacturing was. This is the level of expertise that Michigan Works! wanted to employ. This group has since, been unable to construct as much as a website with information for entrepreneurs and investors to look at Michigan as a bio-manufacturing destination. Its the 21st century, and they can't create a website? I've personally met with countless frustrated entrepreneurs looking for the silver lining in Michigan, and Michigan Works! is a well recognized dark cloud. Michigan Works offers information on ~500 jobs for ~100,000 seekers....the Federal Government is logical in summing up their efforts as null. Please move Michigan into the 21st Century.
A Michigander
Thu, 01/05/2012 - 8:50am
My daughter-in-law and son both lost their jobs and they have 3 children to support. My son has been out of work now for over 3 years and my daughter-in-law DID get a job through the Works program. She now has a full-time okay paying job, but it still is not enough to take care of the family. And they are running out of time to get any more state help as the new governor has made sure of that. It is a tough job market out there and to find good jobs when you have already been down and out for so long--your cars are old and not dependable, daycare costs eat up what little income you bring in--this family is still deeply struggling! So what's the answer? I don't a good solution for them, do you? With fixed home costs and deteriorated vehicles that are always breaking down now and with having the expensive of having 3 children, life looks pretty bleak for them even though one household member is working. Governor Snyder was heartless to believe that cutting people off from assistance will make them get out and find jobs as there are just not enough jobs, or qualified people, to be had in the State of Michigan.
Joe
Thu, 01/05/2012 - 3:34pm
Let's get real. Outside of IT and healthcare, there are very few opportunities and many applicants. Older job seekers and the unemployed are at the back of the line regardless. You want to be a nurse? As an older student, you have to spend $10,000 on tuition for prerequisites and maintain a 3.75 grade point to even be considered for the GVSU nursing program. Many try, few are chosen as with their PA program. Money that the unemployed don't have and an investment with no guarantees. You can't file bankruptcy like a private corporation if it leads to nothing. My wife has a Master in Architecture from Harvard and has been forced to work in Asia due to the US economy. She is not alone; she has formerly unemployed classmates working now in China. Should she be retrained as a hotel maid? I will be joining her shortly with my Master in Public Administration. I know for certain my age is a factor in my long-term unemployment. I am now completing a degree in instructional technology with the help of Michigan Works and will again have more than $12,000 in student loan debt with no guarantee of a job but it has provided me additional information age skills and helped me keep my sanity. Instead of moving the retirement age to 70, we should move it to 50 since employers want you under 40.
Jim
Thu, 01/05/2012 - 10:38am
Several erroneous assumptions are made when evaluating such government run programs. One of the first is that the federal guidelines or standards are valid. If in fact we in Michigan are out of compliance with them, this may be a good thing? Has any responsible and knowledgeable group or groups evaluated these guidelines for their relevance to the job market and skills needed to fill available jobs? Perhaps another major problem is in the lack of adequate and realistic vocational training within schools around the state. What are their placement rates and successful outcomes? Do they have any, and how are they measured by whom? How do we catch students as they fall out or drop out of the public education system for whatever reasons? Then once out, where do they turn for realistic job skill training? To the same system which they have just exited? It strikes me that we have another bloated government and non-governmental group of agencies all trying to do something with no unity of command or control which should consistently evaluate their effectiveness for rewards or consequences. The winners should remain with funds, and the losers should be terminated with the resources re-channeled to the winners. The big question is whether or not there are any real winners within this cumbersome group, are there? If there is a trend in Michigan toward growth and enrichment of charter schools for being more responsible, attaining measureable outcomes, and achieving better results, then why not pursue this avenue for job training and placement? If the governmental groups cannot get the job done, then it should be out-sourced to responsible groups with proven track records for getting results, evaluated, and funded or not funded according to those results or lack of results accomplished! If it is broken, as our system seems to be, then fix it or kill it and replace it with a non-governmental entity which works!
Spartan
Thu, 01/05/2012 - 11:41am
Without understanding the complete Michigan Works! model, this article (and comments) could be construed wrongly. Much of the Federal money MW! receives goes right back out the door to various nonprofit, educational, and yes, private entities who provide varying types of training. Based on Jim's comment, perhaps a better accounting and evaluation procedure is needed than what is currently Federally mandated. Furthermore, expertise and job markets vary greatly across the state. Thus, programs that work well in Region A will not necessarily work well in Region B. These differences may need to be taken into account when evaluating effectiveness.
Jim
Sat, 01/07/2012 - 1:11pm
Spartan: Good insights! Now if you want to get really frustrated, go to the audit report referenced in this article and you will see the 7 programs totalled more than $309 million in 2009, and $349 million in 2010. There are apparently several goals other than getting jobs: (direct financial assistance, tuition, job training, classroom training, secure employment in long term, mid term, and short term jobs, and to produce a degree or certificate). The frustration comes when you read that repeatedly the auditors were unable to evaluate outcomes for a variety of reasons, usually that the service providers could not track the clients, services, or outcomes due to "complexities". Imagine the private sector being unable to account for more than $349,000,000 of shareholders' money? How long do you think they would be in business? I repeat.....terminate this entire mess and outsource it to businesses which will be accountable or cut off from funds!!!!!
norm
Thu, 01/05/2012 - 12:56pm
It would appear that this great John Engler plan is a failure, after 10 plus years it should be self evident, so scrap the program and get gov out of the business communities way. The money can be used for more efficient purposes, like eliminating the personal property tax or film incentives or other such meaningful projects.
Hardvark
Thu, 01/05/2012 - 2:12pm
Norm, Why would you make a statement like that when Grandholm has been in charge of perpetuating the program for 8 of the last 9 years? This is jsut another example of why every program should have a sunset rule. Nobody is watching the hen house so there is no accountability. Maybe the government should not be in the employment business. It is one thing to lose your job to off-shore compitition and the fed should place tariffs on imports that are subsidised by foreign governments. Education should be available to anyone if they want to learn a marketable skill and that needs to be determined by the employers, not the educators of the government.
norm
Thu, 01/05/2012 - 5:25pm
Hardvark, I would agree with you that sunset legislation is necessary, thus my suggestion to terminate the program
Annette
Mon, 01/09/2012 - 3:02pm
Norm is absolutely correct - Michigan Works was John Engler's baby. He did it to funnel more dollars into the county governments - Michigan Works are county run - not state run.
Neil
Thu, 01/05/2012 - 2:27pm
The whole job environment has changed since I started working up to 1999. One was not expected to have all the qualifications required for the job except the ability to learn. Ability to learn was assumed from the applicant having a high school, college, or post graduate diploma. The employer provided on-the-job training. In any case the applicant still had to learn the job. Now employers are writing job descriptions and requirements for the new era. Employers are not willing to have on the job training until one is right out of high school or college. New employees are expected to hit the ground running. Michigan Works has no mechanism to act a a middle man. This would require an employer agent to edit the job requirements posted on the Michigan Works web site to relax or redefine restrictions. An unemployed agent would work with the unemployed to edit their resumes posted on the Michigan Works web site to match posted job requirements. Up to now none of this is happening. I am a unsuccessful customer of Michigan Works from 2002 to 2005.
Neil
Thu, 01/05/2012 - 2:59pm
One more thing about Michigan Works agents I describe in my previous comment. These agents should be hired from the field specialty they are to represent. For example, a computer software specialist should have experience as a computer systems analyst and programmer. These agents have to learn the terminology that employers that are putting into their job description requirements. The agent needs to do Internet searches to learn about software and find where free and low cost training would be found. Can the unemployed do computer assisted training on his own PC? The unemployed agent can then direct clients to training in these required software products and to add training experience to resumes. The unemployed agent also needs to learn the software terminology put on resumes. Maybe some rewording is the ticket. This is one way Michigan Works can improve the matching process.
Duane
Thu, 01/05/2012 - 7:45pm
I had an opportunity to place an opening on Jobs Works, the overwheliming number of respondents had not even read the opportunity as their resumes working looking for jobs that had no relationship to the opening. I took the time to read each resumes ( I will admit that after the opening statements I quickly move to the next one), but it took time (time I lost doing my normal job). I have since had the aditional openings, placed on Craigslist and not on Jobs Works. I have successfully fill all the openings from Craiglist. This is a personal experience, not sufficient for statistical proof, but it is those individual experiences that cause people to decide to use or use a product or service. It doesn't matter how much government wants something to work that isn't what drives success.
Jim
Fri, 01/06/2012 - 6:16pm
This goes back to some of the comments I made above! I assume Craig's List is a business and do not know how they are compensated, but would guess that it is based on RESULTS in some way or another. If Duane has realized success by employing Craig's List, then why not try to use other similar results compensated business organizations who get paid to get the job done, rather than perpetuating a system which appears to be a failure? How much does it cost taxpayers for the Federal and State funds used to operate Michigan Works and all of the related entities whether they are governmental, non-profit, or for profit organizations? These totalled costs divided by the number of people placed into jobs would yield the cost per job gained. I bet it is astronomical! Anybody have any data?
Sun, 01/08/2012 - 4:38pm
Unfortunately, there are many flaws in this statewide agency. However, as others have pointed out, what works in one region may not work in another. I'm really appalled that this article seemed to showcase what the business world thinks of as potential employees from Michigan Works agencies. While Ms. Seymore may in fact represent one low-skilled worker, she certainly does NOT represent everyone. Here in Lansing, one volunteer, Lisa Wiley-Parker, facilitates a Career Networking Group at Capital Area Michigan Works. Her group meets every Friday afternoon at 1:00PM and welcomes unemployed professionals. Her group primarily consists of well educated and experienced older workers - primarily in their 40's and 50's. The bulk of these people are out networking, pounding the pavement, applying for jobs they are more than qualified for - only to be rejected because of their previous salary histories, job titles, age, etc. These folks are the exact opposite of Ms. Seymore whom was featured in this article. I know that this agency has it's flaws, but let's face it - several agencies within our state are flawed. Look at the teacher who tried to scrub permanent marker off of one of her pupil's face, only to be investigated by the Department of Human Services, had her license revoked and has lost her entire livelihood. I'm sure there are other horror stories out there. Bottom line, yes, Michigan Works seriously needs some new fiscal oversight. There needs to be more programs offered - you reported that only 3-12 percent of program funds are actually used for participants. Unfortunately, if you have a degree you don't qualify for training. Many of these programs aren't available for our workforce that could desperately use new skills like those being offered through the Shifting Code program by the Michigan Economic Development Corporation. IF Michigan Works could provide the $100 for the program fees to the people who qualify and could benefit from this, then why not do it? It's time for a drastic change, but simply venting and slanting an entire article to appease the business community doesn't seen fair. What about the success stories that have come out of Michigan Works? How many small businesses have saved money from placing job postings on Monster.com or Career Builder and found great candidates? What about the people that have been successful in attaining higher education in high demanded fields and found successful jobs in IT or healthcare? I would be more than happy to showcase just how much Michigan Works has done just to counter this negative article!
Annette
Mon, 01/09/2012 - 2:51pm
Really? Larry Harb still can't fill his bookkeeper job through Michigan Works or other employment avenues? What exactly is he paying - $7.25 and hour? A good job paying a decent wage will always draw qualified applicants, but employers want to pay as little as they can get away with and then tell the workers they're "lucky to have a job." I worked for many years for an employment agency and "you get what you pay for." Businesses that valued their workers and paid a decent wage had no problems finding solid, qualified workers. But employers who wanted slave labor paying peanuts had a lot of difficulty filling (or were unable to fill) their crap jobs. And then got mad about it like it was someone else's fault.
Mon, 01/09/2012 - 4:53pm
As a former employee of a Michigan Works System I can attest to the waste. Despite myself and a number of other employees being laid off due to lack of funds, those employees remaining with the group received brand new iPhones shortly after my departure. These phones are used by the Business Reps to receive calls and emails. There is absolutely no reason why these employees require brand new iPhones to do their job. At my new career, I use my own cell phone for business regularly and I don't think twice about it. Additionally, while I was in a Business Rep role myself, we had regular quarterly meetings at the Marriott in East Lansing. The food served at these meetings surpassed many wedding receptions, and these hosted 50-100 people from across the state who did my job as well. Factor in the food, parking, mileage (with no one car pooling), and the sheer dollars wasted on wages, and you can see why people get upset about government spending. I now work in the private staffing industry, and my company is one of the big boys in the industry. We recently had a meeting at that same hotel. At the meeting were fewer people, and VPs from our region. We were celebrating what a fantastic year the company had-and all we had were sandwiches and chips. Nothing more, nothing less-and it was fantastic. We had a great event, celebrated our wins, and discussed how we can get better and we were completed satisfied with just the sandwiches. I didn’t think of it until I got into the private sector, but there is so much waste at this level. Personally and professionally, I am turned off by this organization and I wish they would get with the rest of the companies in this State and realize that it is extremely hard right now to make payroll, and even to keep the lights on. Every dollar they do not spend, is a dollar back in the pockets of those who put it (or most of it) there in the first place.
Henry
Thu, 01/12/2012 - 4:17pm
Some one needs to report the entire story I see an empoyers side and a participants side but not the Michigan Works side. I have learned that there is always another side to any story. I agree with many statments made, but I also know some of the underlying factors that make them true,and the wrong entity is getting the blunt of things and it is not equality to not investigate the whole story. Get in the trenches before you draw conclusions. The people that apply the rules are not at fault maybe it is the people that establish the rules maybe the rules need to be changed , or improved. not eliminated or better communication . Being a veteran I know that if the military was run with the same degree of communication and continuity as the state and the federal runs their programs we would lose every battle we were ever engaded in.Lets get back to comman sense not finger pionting with out knowing the whole story. Thank you.
Jeff
Fri, 01/13/2012 - 5:21pm
As a Lansing MI employer, my experience with MIWorks! has been different than what’s depicted here. I’ve successfully hired two skilled workers in the past year with the aid of MIWorks! Is it perfect? No. Is there room for improvement? There almost always is. Would I use them again to help fill a job opening? Absolutely!
Ken
Mon, 01/23/2012 - 10:58am
As a Lansing-area employer, I can vouch that Capital Area Michign Works! has provided benefit to my company. They sent us qualified candidates to consider hiring....and we did hire several of them. CAMW! also provided a great deal of support in setting up job fairs that attracted numerous qualified candidates for consideration. Overall, my experience wth CAMW! has been very positive and I intend to work with them in the future when I need to hire additional employees.
Josh
Mon, 05/11/2015 - 11:59am
Michigan Works is pretty much useless beyond the free use of computers and internet. Be that as it may, opportunities are what you make them - one can't rely on a poorly-run government agency to find a job. You have to use the resources you have (e.g. MW!) and make the best of them. Although I do admit it's pretty shocking how clueless some of the staff is.
Joshua Jenkins
Wed, 05/27/2015 - 2:29pm
I've lost my job so my wife applied for cash assistance with our local DHS. We are now enrolled into Michigan works program. We have not got any help in fact what we do at Michigan works is the exact same thing we've been doing on our own. we are now running out of our own funds. We are not getting any help at all just an extra stop wasting gas. The worker promised us gas cards, gift cards, etc. They have failed excellent to provide to us what they promise. As of now we are still in the program for really no reason at all they have not helped us they are rude and unprofessional. I've been trying to find out how to fill in complaint for the lack of assistance.
Richard:Johnson...
Thu, 10/22/2015 - 1:51am
Michigan works is racist against muurs/moors they have denied me work, training and a teaching job since 2009 to 10-31_2015. I was told by them that I was denied because I am a muur/moor and I have been homeless all this time. I was refused welfare, Social Security, and educational grants at WCCCD, who also denied me skilled trades teaching jobs, while being denied work from pipefitters and Boilermakers union where I completed their Apprenticeship and I was put out of A+ certification class at focus hope by mrs. Hanks and workers from michigan works like Mr Burns and his replacement guy because I am a muur/moor. I have been denied work as a licensed Contractor by all parties, et al named and un-named ! I have been denied joint ventures on Construction projects and denied work as a skilled Tradesman which pays $82/hour with doublle time for all overtime as a Boilermakers and over $70/hour as steamfitter while being kept off all Construction projects as a licensed Contractor. This is known as the badges of slavery of the13th amendment and also violates 14th amendment, title 18 USC 241, 242, 245, title 42 USC 1981, 1982, 1983, 1985, Civil Rights Acts 1866, through 1991 and Human Rights Treaties ! Declaration of Rights of Indigenous Peoples Treaty 9-13-2007!