Thursday, July 1, 2010

Job Networks?

"We are also the most reliable sources of jobs, for in many nations, word of mouth among friends and neighbors is still the most important access to employment."

Peter Block and John McKnight, The Abundant Community

Weak-tied social networks probably comprise more than friends and neighbors, but it's a start. There's always the question of whether this network access is to good jobs and jobs for those most excluded. Many times social networks contribute to the maintenance of certain groups gaining access while others have to knock at doors. And, if you live in a high-unemployment neighborhood, you may not have networks that link into the employed world.

Moreover, we should probably ask how these networks are performing in the recession and jobless economy.

The usefullness of this perspective is that it urges us to pay attention to the resources we have -- our networks, our contacts, our employment information -- and to figure out ways to use them. But we should always be concerned about their limitations. If we were all such reliable sources of jobs, there wouldn't be such high unemployment in low-income neighorhoods even in good times.

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