According to reports, President Obama plans to launch a new effort Feb 13 to aid in the advancement of young minority men. He will be using his powerful platform to advocate for black males and provide resources to help them succeed.
The “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative will be driven by White House efforts as well as foundations and companies, who together will to take steps to nurture black males in terms of education, according to White House officials.
President Obama pledged during his State of the Union address to bring more attention to the issues that disproportionately affect young men of color, including education and employment barriers.
“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,” he said.
This comes at a time of crisis for black males, as many still face high unemployment, drop-out rates and hindrances to success. Particularly in booming—and high-paying industries, such as STEM, black men are underrepresented. A National Science Foundation study, Diversity in Science and Engineering Employment found only 15% of scientists and engineers were minority men—238,000 were black men compared with 5 million who were white and 840,000 who were Asian. Furthermore, the jobless rate for black men over 20 years old jumped from 11.5 percent in December 2013 to 12 percent in January (compared with White men who experienced a decrease in their unemployment rate from 5.6 percent in December 2013 to 5.4 percent in January). Young people of color, ages 16-19, continue to suffer the highest rate of joblessness among all worker groups (at 38%).