Obama Plans Program to Aid Minority Men

David Jackson, USA Today, February 12, 2014

President Obama is planning to unveil a new initiative with specific targets: African-American and Hispanic men who have disproportionate rates of unemployment.

Under the “My Brother’s Keeper” program, foundations, businesses and community groups would develop plans to help men of color at particularly vulnerable times of their lives, administration officials said.

In previewing the initiative during last month’s State of the Union Address, Obama said, “I’m reaching out to some of America’s leading foundations and corporations on a new initiative to help more young men of color facing tough odds stay on track and reach their full potential.”

Obama had planned to hold a White House event Thursday to officially unveil the new project, but it has been postponed because of bad weather.

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Two Obama administration officials discussed the “My Brother’s Keeper” program on condition of anonymity so as not to pre-empt Obama’s announcement.

As part of the new effort, businesses and foundations would seek to develop strategies designed to help young men at critical and vulnerable parts of their lives. Goals range from helping boys get to school on time to avoiding problems with the criminal justice system.

Ideas include promoting literacy, early childhood education and healthy lifestyles, as well as disrupting what one official called “the school-to-prison pipeline.”

“My Brother’s Keeper” also involves a review of existing federal programs designed to address the challenges facing young men, discarding those that don’t work and improving those that do—”all within existing federal resources,” one official said.

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One official said the goal of “My Brother’s Keeper” is “to make sure that every young man of color who is willing to work hard and lift himself up has an opportunity to get ahead and reach his full potential.”

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