Obama-inspired program launched to help young minorities

Amid racial unrest in some of America’s biggest cities, President Obama was in New York Monday to announce a new private program called My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, a take-off of an executive branch initiative that started over a year ago to help young minorities get a quality education and land a job after college.

According to a White House press release, 25 percent of black and Hispanic men from age 16–24 neither have a job or enrolled in school. The statement went on to note the following:

“Labor projections suggest that by 2018, U.S. employers will need 22 million new workers with a post-secondary education — will have only 19 million available. By 2020, the majority of Americans under the age of 18 will be persons of color. As it stands, the opportunity gap among boys and young men of color is a burden to the American economy.”

The new private initiative will be headed by the former CEO of Deloitte, Joe Echevarria, who co-chaired the public version of the program last year. A team of CEO’s from companies like Pepsico, American Express, BET, ex-government officials, and civic-minded celebrities, will collaborate on the effort which aims to empower local community leaders to develop strategies which will help teach underprivileged young people the skills they need to compete in a 21st century economy.

To date, My Brother’s Keeper has secured $500 million in grant money, while $80 million has been raised for the private alliance so far. The new commitment from the private-sector ensures that the idea of addressing the root-causes of poverty in America will be pursued past Obama’s presidential tenure.

 

[Time] [Photo courtesy Win McNamee/Getty Images]