Thursday, June 12, 2014

New Report Recommends Ways to Close Opportunity Gaps for Men and Boys of Color

Announced in February 2014, the My Brother’s Keeper initiative was launched by the Obama administration to identify what works to help youth stay on track to achieve their full potential as adults. Last week, the President’s My Brother’s Keeper Task Force released their 90-day report outlining their initial round of assessments and recommendations.

The report includes findings from conversations the task force had with thousands of young people – conversations including one cited in the report with a boy named Damon, who told task force staff that he was doing badly in school until March.  When they asked what had happened in March, he told them that he had spoken to his father after a long time and his father’s advice was to “do well in school.” This anecdote was included in the report to illustrate the main driving force behind this initiative: parents and other caring adults will always have the biggest impact on the lives of young people.

The Task Force identifies the following six milestones on the path to adulthood:

1.     Getting a healthy start and entering school ready to learn;
2.     Reading at grade level by third grade;
3.     Graduating from high school ready for college and career;
4.     Completing post-secondary education or training;
5.     Successfully entering the workforce;
6.     Keeping kids on track and giving them second chances.

Under each of the six milestones, the Task Force identifies a series of recommendations for how to make meaningful change at those critical times. For example, under the milestone entitled “A Healthy Start and Ready for School,” one recommendation was to eliminate suspensions and expulsions in preschool and other early learning settings. The “Successfully Entering the Workforce” milestone included recommendations such as growing and improving youth summer employment and the use of pre-apprenticeships as good entry-level jobs. Cross-cutting recommendations included creating a public-private mentoring campaign and improving data collection and transparency around tracking the status of young men and boys of color. 

Want to get involved? The 90-day report was released along with a call to action directed at adults of all walks of life to become mentors and be the positive caring adult in a young person’s life. Click here and enter your zip code to find out about mentoring opportunities in your community.

Click to watch a short video from the White House about the My Brother's Keeper Initiative.

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