CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — Seeking a job under the current economic conditions can be challenging for many people; however, the process may prove more daunting for minorities.

According to the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the job market has been especially unkind to African-Americans and other minority groups, who must deal with a multitude of issues, including discrimination and job readiness.

U.S. Department of Labor statistics for September place the national unemployment rate at 11.2 percent among African-Americans and 7.5 percent for Hispanics. That’s in comparison to the national average of 6.1 percent.

To help address this problem, BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee and the Westside Community Development Corporation (CDC) have teamed up to host a minority job skills and recruitment fair on Saturday, Nov. 15.

“Partnering with the Westside CDC gives us a great opportunity to seek a diversified pool of job candidates,” said Ron Harris, manager of workforce diversity at BlueCross. “This fair will not only benefit BlueCross, but it will also assist area minorities as they seek to improve job skills and find prospective employment.”

The job fair is scheduled for 10 a.m.– 4 p.m. at the Shelia M. Jennings Health and Wellness Center, 1201 Poplar Street.

Attendees at the fair will receive information about the Westside CDC job training and GED programs, Dress for Success, and Signal Centers. Participants will also be able to benefit from on-site workshops and learn about local employment and training opportunities with Dollar General and BlueCross.

“Part of our mission is to move residents from dependence to independence,” said Paula Coleman, a program coordinator for the Westside CDC. “We accomplish this, in part, through education and job training. The other piece of the equation is the support of area businesses, like BlueCross, who help us place these skilled men and women into good jobs.”

About BlueCross

BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee's mission is to provide its customers and communities with peace of mind through affordable solutions for health and healing, life and living. Founded in 1945, the Chattanooga-based company is focused on reinventing the health plan for its 3 million members in Tennessee and across the country. Through its integrated health management approach, BlueCross provides patient-centric products and services that drive health improvement and positively impact health care quality and value. BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee Inc. is an independent licensee of the BlueCross BlueShield Association. For more information, visit the company's website at