COVID-19 job losses: Black and Hispanic communities in Bexar County among hardest hit

WIC is helping thousands of people a month during pandemic

San Antonio – The pandemic has left tens of thousands in Bexar County alone jobless and it’s having a greater impact on Hispanic and Black communities in San Antonio.

According to Workforce Solutions Alamo, about 56% of unemployment claims in Bexar County are from the Hispanic community. Hispanics make up 58% of the population.

About 9% of the claims come from the Black community, and Black people make up roughly 7% of the population.

“The most impacted occupations or industries that be accommodation food services and retail trade, approximately 58% of those folks that were either furloughed, released, laid off, about 22,000 of them are Hispanic. Eight percent are African Americans, about 3,000,” said Adrian Lopez, CEO of Workforce Solutions Alamo.

Lopez said the pandemic has done more damage to communities that have been dealing with poverty for a long time.

“Unfortunately, you have seen large segments of the population, minority populations that continue to live below the poverty line. So something like COVID that hits these communities impacts that situation even more and makes it worse,” Lopez said.

Lopez said some people affected by the layoffs include those who may not have a high school diploma or GED.

“Some of them may not have enough skill set or qualified skill set to be able to get into these jobs, but that’s where Workforce Solutions Alamo can play a very key role in filling that need,” Lopez said.

San Antonio’s WIC director, Norma Sifuentes, said they have seen an increase of people ending help.

“First time clients who have never needed assistance in any form, who have come to us, of course, with in need because of you know, being unemployed or having lost their jobs,” Sifuentes said.

The WIC program provides nutritious foods, information on healthy eating and referrals to health care.

Sifuentes said they are serving an additional 2,000 to 3,000 people a month.

“We’ve always seen a higher need among our hispanic and our black communities,” Sifuentes said.

San Antonio resident Abbigale Martinez is 16 weeks pregnant.

Due to the pandemic, her husband is not working right now.

She said the WIC program is helping her family during these hard times.

“It kind of just helps, like having groceries in my house, because right now we’re kind of short on money,” Martinez said.

Workforce Solutions Alamo’s goal is to connect people to jobs, work experience opportunities and training programs. To learn more about the program, click here.

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