Monday, March 18, 2013, An RLJ Company, Joins With BET Digital and Uptown Media to Provide Access to Jobs and Opportunities for Diverse Talent

Bethesda, MD - OppsPlace, LLC, an RLJ Company, today announced it has joined efforts with Black Entertainment Television (BET) Digital and UPTOWN Media to create a multifaceted cross promotional web-based venue designed to address minority unemployment and help users find jobs and opportunities from leading Fortune 500 companies that truly value diversity and inclusion., created by Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies and founder of Black Entertainment Television (BET), is a new online portal for diverse individuals and business owners looking to find employment opportunities in corporate America. With over 20,000 open jobs on, OppsPlace gives top talent countless opportunities to get their foot in the door at leading corporations around the country. There are currently thousands of job vacancies available in entry-level, mid-level, and senior executive levels.

Today's announcement marks the beginning of multiple media partners who firmly believe in Robert L. Johnson's mission of providing a solution to the current unemployment crisis in America -- particularly among minorities. The strategic alliance between OppsPlace, BET Digital, and UPTOWN Media will increase awareness about the thousands of employment opportunities and provide valuable content in key areas such as career success, business development, and gaining financial stability.

"We are excited to work with BET Digital and UPTOWN Media in this collaborative effort to assist diverse individuals in finding employment in leading companies that truly understand the business case for diversity and inclusion. By working collaboratively on the unemployment issue, we are confident that thousands of unemployed people will have access to wonderful job opportunities that are available on our OppsPlace platform," said Kelli Richardson Lawson, President and COO of OppsPlace, LLC. "BET and UPTOWN are two of the top media networks within the minority community and I cannot think of better allies in helping to find a solution to minority unemployment and other issues that directly impact African Americans."

Each site will feature links to job postings from companies looking to further their commitments to diversity in hiring and employment. In addition to opportunities, job seekers will have access to weekly editorial content, expert advice, blogs, and newsletters on topics such as career, business and finance, and can participate in real-time networking forums discussing the latest job numbers, upcoming events and other employment news.
Job opportunities will be available and cross-promoted through,, and Uptown starting mid-March, 2013. Each networking site will announce new openings and career advice via their respective social media outlets, direct marketing, and career fair and industry events across the country.
Visit, or for more information and opportunities available in your industry.

About OppsPlace:
OppsPlace, LLC created by Robert L. Johnson, founder and chairman of The RLJ Companies and Ariel Friedler, CEO of Symplicity Corporation, is the preeminent online network for minorities looking to build net worth. It is the only online community that aggregates rich content, minorities looking for jobs and minority businesses seeking to do business with U.S. corporations - all in a robust networking environment. OppsPlace provides U.S. companies with the best opportunity to find qualified, minority job seekers and minority businesses in one online destination. For more information, Media Inquiries: Traci Otey Blunt 240-744-7858 or

Friday, April 1, 2011

TODAY on It's Payday! The Truth Behind Black Business Growth! Part I

The Obama Administration and national media outlets are touting a recent Census Report finding that African Americans are starting more businesses than any other population. The study notes Black people are starting businesses at triple the national growth rate. Some groups and experts are even suggesting that this trend is evidence of increased economic activity within Black America. That might not be a legitimate assessment. I reached out to my fellow Floridian Brooks Robinson, PhD of to get the reality behind these numbers.

I also talked with the noted scholar and author about business growth sectors for African-Americans.

Brooks Robinson, Ph.D is a distinguished economist and author of Choice: Black America's Decision. Check him out at

Monday, March 28, 2011

Finding Low Income Housing and Apartments Just Got Easier!

Millions of individuals and families in the country are taking advantage of low income housing programs, and the numbers continue to rise as the U.S. economy has worsened and more people have become unemployed. Because of this, the National Low Income Housing Authority (NLIHA) has launched a new web site at to better serve those who need assistance.

The web site is an online tool that offers valuable information, resources, and tips on how to find and apply for low income housing programs and other government assistance programs. It also features a searchable database of more than 3,000 programs, rehab centers, and shelters in all 50 states.

Those who are going through a financial crisis can use the site to find an affordable place to live, to be informed about what their options are, and to be encouraged that there is help available. In addition, the site can be used as a resource on how to best deal with evictions, foreclosures, bad credit, child support, and college funding for low-income students.

For more details, visit

Friday, March 25, 2011

TODAY on It's Payday! Is Your Tax Refund an Opportunity or an Obstacle?

Are you one of those people who are happy when you get your tax refund and sad when you are broke?

So many people have either received or are starting to receive their tax refund money. Some people use this money to position themselves to get ahead financially. Others use this money to buy a bunch of things they don’t need and regrettably end up in more debt. We are facing a challenging and sluggish economy. That leaves me with one directive: use your tax refund to position yourself to get ahead. Don’t be one of those people who spend all their money and end up singing the blue. On It’s Payday!, I talked about the It’s Payday! 50/25/25 plan.

03-25-11 Tax Refund Opportunities by ItsPayday

The It’s Payday! 50/25/25 plan is a formula that will help you get ahead this year. It involves splitting your money three ways.

50% for Your Emergency Fund- Use the first half of your refund to start or bolster your emergency account. There is a certain peace of mind you get when you know that you can manage life’s ups and downs. You can use this money when times get tight. That way you avoid high-interest credit cards and predatory lending. This saves you money in the long run. If you have an emergency fund, use this money to invest in appreciating assets that will help you build wealth in the future.

25% for Debt & Bills- Use the next quarter of your refund to pay down debt and catch up on bills. Remember, having a low credit score makes everything more expensive.

25% for Fun- Family should be the motivation behind our struggle. After you take care of business, use the last quarter of your money to have fun and invest in your family.

I take my hat off and salute you. You are surviving a very challenging and uncertain economy. Let’s use this refund money to stop living paycheck to paycheck.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

National Urban League & Walgreens Partner to Bring Free Health Screenings Near You

Through "National Urban League and Walgreens Wellness Tour"

-- Extended Ten-Month Phase of Campaign Will Bring the Wellness Tour to More Than 15 Additional Cities --

Deerfield, IL (March 15, 2011) -- The National Urban League and Walgreens Wellness Tour, as part of the Walgreens Way To Well Fund(TM), will once again travel the country, embarking on a ten-month tour to provide six free health tests with the goal of promoting better health in urban communities. The national mobile health testing tour will also continue to highlight the League's "I Am Empowered" national service initiative, and will collaborate with Urban League affiliates to offer free health education and health testing events in urban communities convenient to where consumers live, work and play.

The free tests - which include total cholesterol levels, blood pressure, bone density, glucose levels, waist circumference and body mass index - are valued at $100 and may help provide adults with a critical foundation for early disease detection and prevention. Visitors will also have access to educational materials available in both English and Spanish, concerning each of the screenings, as well as HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention. Throughout the next six months, the National Urban League and Walgreens Wellness Tour will visit more than 15 cities with its custom-equipped bus and dedicated staff to provide free services at local events, community centers, Walgreens stores and other select locations. Consumers can learn when a tour is scheduled to serve their community by calling toll free (866)-484-8687 or accessing a schedule online at

Walgreens, the nation's largest drugstore chain, and National Urban League, the oldest and largest community-based nonpartisan organization devoted to empowering underserved communities, partnered together for the wellness tour to maximize the impact of their shared, long-term commitment to overcoming the barriers associated with receiving quality health services in urban areas. Over the past four years, the National Urban League and Walgreens Wellness Tour administered more than 350,000 screenings.

Residents in urban communities, particularly minorities, experience disproportionately higher rates of preventable disease. In a 2009 study, The New England Journal of Medicine found that blacks are impacted by higher rates of heart failure, and specifically:

* African-Americans suffer heart failure at a rate of 20 times higher than whites.
* One in 100 African-American men and women will develop heart failure before age 50.
* Heart failure rates for African-Americans in their 30s and 40s are the same as whites in their 50s and 60s.

According to the National Diabetes Education Program:
* 10.4 percent of Hispanics/Latinos ages 20 years or older have diagnosed diabetes
* Among Hispanics/Latinos, diabetes prevalence rates are 8.2 percent for Cubans, 11.9 percent for Mexican Americans and 12.6 percent for Puerto Ricans.

The tests are available to adults, ages 18 and older. After the tests are performed, a pharmacist or staff member will instantly provide the results and review them with the consumer. Consumers are encouraged to report their results to their doctor or health care provider so they may discuss any concerns with them.

"The National Urban League is thrilled to continue its partnership with Walgreens by extending the 2010-2011 Wellness Tour program, which has reached more than 65,000 people in the past four years," said Marc H. Morial, President and CEO of the National Urban League. "The NUL/Walgreens Wellness Tour's health tests are vital to disease detection and prevention, especially as many diverse communities in the United States are struggling without affordable health care. Our partnership with Walgreens works to ensure urban and minority communities are well-educated about healthier lifestyles and can access basic health testing resources due to this community-based partnership."

"Walgreens continues to value our partnership with the National Urban League, and we are happy to announce the extension of the 2010-2011 National Urban League and Walgreens Wellness Tour. The basic health tests offered by the Wellness Tour help support our common goal to provide healthy outcomes for people in communities who benefit most from these services," said John Gremer, Walgreens Director of Community Affairs. "Our commitment is to empower everyone to live well, stay well and get well, and to provide them with the necessary resources to do so."

The Tour will be visiting the following cities with more to come:

Portland, OR
Oklahoma City, OK
Dallas, TX
New Orleans, LA
Atlanta, GA
Houston, TX
Birmingham, AL
Chicago, IL
Washington, DC
Indianapolis, IN
Springfield, MA
Boston, MA
Providence, RI
New York, New York
Newark, NJ

Monday, March 14, 2011

Basketball Players Union Offer Great Lesson in Financial Savvy

With a rumored lockout on the horizon, the National Basketball Players’ Association is communicating a proactive message: “Hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” According to Bloomberg, the union gave its members a Lockout Handbook to prepare them for a possible financial drought. Some of the hoopsters eschew the thought of being role models. Despite that, the handbook offers great advice that is valid for all people.

Poor Decisions Lead to the Poor House

We already talked about the financial penalties of sports, sex, booze and emotional blackmail. Making shortsighted decisions can have long-term financial consequences. The union encourages players to avoid even traveling to gambling havens like Las Vegas and Atlantic City. Numerous legends have lost millions of dollars on the gambling tables. Some former-multimillionaire hoopsters must now contend with financial difficulty because of their reported gambling problems. We all have to avoid financial traps that may cause us to indulge our financial weaknesses. That may mean changing the route you drive to work, direct depositing your check into an online savings account and creating and using a living budget.

Avoid Costly Depreciating Assets

The handbook discourages players from buying clothing and jewelry because “when times get tough, you will not be able to liquidate it quickly.”Instead, the players are encouraged to save that money to protect themselves and their love ones. We have to remember that our families remain the enduring reason we grind, struggle and hustle. We all have to prioritize our resources and invest in assets that will grow in value.

Know and Demand YOUR Value

The ballers and their football playing counterparts are doing their best get all the information necessary to know their true value. Knowing your true value is important, because ignorance is expensive. Working for less than your true value is like volunteering to be exploited. Once you know your value, demand it and over perform.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Sports Plus Sex, Booze and Emotional Blackmail Equal Broke!

Former NBA superstar Allen Iverson is that latest black celebrity to have his financial business put on front street. According to Bloomberg, Iverson's 6,848-square-foot house in Cherry Hills, Colorado is in foreclosure. The legendary hoopster made nearly $200 million in salary and endorsements. Now he may lose a $4 million home.

Superstar athletes are targets for financial leeches that come in the form of groupies, entourage and family members seeking a piece of the action. This phenomenon creates both stress and pressure for these typically under-educated and financially unsophisticated athletes. Many of these athletes often lack unbiased, clear guidance because many of their loved ones are on payroll. Who is going to chastise or prevent the cash cow from indulging in self-destructive vices? These vices are expensive habits that leave nearly 60-percent of NBA players, and 80-percent of NFL players broke after less than 5 years of retirement. They often end up divorced, injured, undereducated, unskilled, with multiple children to support and left with few prospects for financial advancement. Even the great Lawrence Taylor is begging a court to lower his child support payments to a special-needs daughter he never met.

Rumors of Iverson's gambling, womanizing and boozing have filled many tabloids and gossip blogs. The saddest part is that those tabloids report that at least one of his mistresses is well taken care of. Yet, his wife (who stood by him through so much drama), children and family may have a financially unstable future. Now, all that’s left are the memories of the life they used to have. Athletes must prioritize themselves and their families when it comes to their finances. They must also remember that family is the reason they grind and sacrifice. Or, both they and the people that matter most will end up broke. My advice: care of business and sign your own checks. My friend, Boyce Watkins,PhD, offers five solutions to help athletes avoid financial traps.