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As Wisconn Valley takes root, businesses in the region will have a massive need for workers. But Racine has one of the highest unemployment rates in the state so it shouldn’t be an issue, right?

Wrong. The City of Racine has long grappled with an employability problem, which includes people experiencing a myriad of barriers including transportation, unstable housing, physical and mental health issues, drug addiction, prior criminal history, and not having a GED.

Some in the community categorize the problem as a cultural difference. Some frame the problem as laziness. And others say there are profound differences neurologically between people who grow up in generational poverty than those who do not. However, the problem is framed, Racine County Eye is conducting a year-long investigative journalism project around barriers to employment and how businesses are responding to this problem.

So we are looking to talk to people who are unemployed or underemployed. And we want to talk to business owners that have struggled to find employees. If you live in Racine County and want to share your story, please email it to denise@racinecountyeye.com and put JOBS in the subject line. We’ll be accepting these stories through August 1.

Also, we are looking for financial support from the community for this investigative journalism project. If you would like to become a member of Racine County Eye by contributing $5, $10, or $20/month, click on our membership page.

We are also looking for page sponsors around this year-long project. Employment is the top interest of our audience. For more information, contact Denise Lockwood at denise@racinecountyeye.com.

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Denise Lockwood has an extensive background in traditional and non-traditional media. She has written for Patch.com, the Milwaukee Business Journal, Milwaukee Magazine and the Kenosha News.