“That’s what ‘My Brother’s Keeper’ is all about. Helping more of our young people stay on track. Providing the support they need to think more broadly about their future. Building on what works – when it works, in those critical life-changing moments.”
- President Barack Obama, February 27, 2014
In February, as part of his plan to make 2014 a year of action focused on expanding opportunity for all Americans, the President unveiled the “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential. As part of the initiative’s launch, the President also established the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force to review public and private sector programs, policies, and strategies and determine ways the Federal Government can better support these efforts, and how to better involve State and local officials, the private sector, and the philanthropic community.
Today, the President will announce new commitments in support of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative at the Walker Jones Education Center in Washington, DC. Following the announcement, the President will hold a town hall session where he will take questions from the group of DC-area youth who will attend the event. During the session, the President will highlight how the My Brother’s Keeper initiative and the Administration continue to work to build ladders of opportunity for all young people across the country. In attendance at the event will be leaders from 60-plus school districts across the country with the Council of the Great City Schools, parents, business leaders, athletes, mayors and members of Congress.
Today, Magic Johnson Enterprises’ Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Deloitte CEO Joe Echevarria launched the National Convening Council ("NCC"), an independent private sector initiative bringing together leaders from business, philanthropy and the faith, youth and nonprofit communities. Over the next several months, the NCC will travel the country, lifting up examples of cross-sector efforts that are having a positive impact on boys and young men of color.
Creating Opportunity for All
For decades, opportunity has lagged for boys and young men of color. But across the country, communities are adopting approaches to help put these boys and young men on the path to success. And the President, joined by foundations, businesses, and many other leaders, wants to build on that success to ensure that all young people, including boys and young men of color, who are willing to work hard have an opportunity to get ahead and reach their full potential.
The My Brother’s Keeper initiative encourages the use of proven tools that expand opportunity for young people, including access to basic health, nutrition, mentorship, high-quality early education and early introductions into the workforce, as well as partnering with communities and police to reduce violence and make our classrooms and streets safer.
On May 30th, the My Brother’s Keeper Task Force released its 90-day report. This report includes key indicators that will provide a comprehensive view of the environments and outcomes for boys and young men of color and their peers. It also contains recommendations on steps our society can take to begin to expand opportunity for all in areas including:
o Entering school ready to learn;
o Reading at grade level by third grade;
o Graduating from high school ready for college and career;
o Completing post-secondary education or training;
o Entering the workforce; and
o Reducing violence and providing a second chance.
The Administration is doing its part by identifying programs and policies that work, and recommending action that will help all our young people succeed. Since the launch of My Brother’s Keeper, the President’s Task Force has met with and heard from thousands of Americans, through online and in-person listening sessions, who are already taking action.
Today, leading private sector organizations announced independent commitments that further the goals of the My Brother’s Keeper initiative and directly address some of the key recommendations in the Task Force Report.
Reducing High School Dropout Rates, Improving the Worst Performing Schools and Actively Recruiting High Quality and Sustained Mentors:
o The NBA and its teams will work with educators in at-risk schools across many of their franchise cities to provide incentive programs that increase attendance and improve overall school performance. Current and former NBA players will also participate in a series of grassroots, "lessons in leadership and teamwork" workshops in schools and after-school organizations that will inspire boys and young men of color to take charge of their lives, make good decisions, and be successful in their pursuit of education.
o AT&T will expand the engagement of its employees through the Aspire Mentoring Academy with a goal to provide students who are at risk of dropping out of high school with 1 million hours of mentoring by the end of 2016.
o AT&T is using technology to scale its efforts through online mentoring, developing a mentoring app and piloting a program that mentors students through the CISCO IT certification process, thus developing critical Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) skills.
Creating High Schools for the New Economy
o This school redesign initiative aims to use the best in design thinking, education research and practice and technology to create new school environments to dramatically increase the engagement and success of currently underserved students enabling them to achieve and compete at the highest levels and provide the supports, tools and resources educators need to be and feel engaged, effective and supported.
Encouraging and Supporting Comprehensive Cradle-to-College-and-Career Community Solutions for Youth:
Expanding Access to Advanced Placement (AP) Courses and Rigorous College Prep:
Creating Entry-Level Job, Mentorship and Apprenticeship Opportunities for Youth:
o Thousands of professionals – including Citi employees – will participate as volunteer mentors and trainers.
Disproving the Negative Narrative:
o Discovery Education will also host a series of screenings and town halls in partnership with community based non-profits to discuss "My Brother’s Keeper" stories of intervention and ways that communities can get involved and help address this important issue facing our Nation.
Building on Successful Evidence Based Programs that Recruit High Quality and Sustained Mentors:
o The commitment is made possible by the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development of the National Institutes of Health, and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Public Schools.
o With this announcement, B.A.M. and Match are also committing to expand to 3-5 new cities over the next three years.
MBK Task Force Commitments
Through the MBK Task Force, a federal interagency working group created by Presidential Memorandum, the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Agriculture (USDA), along with the Corporation for National and Community Service (CNCS) announced today two new youth corps programs to expand opportunities for youth. Both programs directly address recommendations in the Task Force Report. The programs are intended to help young people successfully enter the workforce as well as create additional job opportunities and increase entry-level job, mentorship and apprenticeship options for all young people, including boys and young men of color.
Supporting Disconnected Youth Through Service and Engagement:
Providing Opportunities that Build Early Career Skills:
Previous Private Sector Commitments