WASHINGTON - US President Barack Obama launched a program Thursday to provide economic and educational support to disadvantaged young men and boys of color in the country.
The "My Brother's Keeper" initiative, a partnership between government, private corporations and philanthropic foundations, will commit 200 million US dollars in the next five years and focus on issues ranging from nutrition and health to education and youth violence.
"Yet as the Congress, State and local governments, research institutions, and leading private-sector organizations have all recognized, persistent gaps in employment, educational outcomes, and career skills remain for many boys and young men of color throughout their lives," the president said in a memorandum featuring creating and expanding ladders of opportunity for minority youth.
"By focusing on the critical challenges, risk factors, and opportunities for boys and young men of color at key life stages, we can improve their long-term outcomes and ability to contribute to the Nation's competitiveness, economic mobility and growth, and civil society," he said, adding that "unlocking their full potential will benefit not only them, but all Americans."
"Therefore, I am establishing the My Brother's Keeper initiative, an interagency effort to improve measurably the expected educational and life outcomes for and address the persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color," he said.
The president also created an interagency task force chaired by the assistant to the president and Cabinet secretary to maintain the initiative across federal agencies, including assessing federal policies and regulations.
The Education Department will have a leading role in the program, according to the memorandum, and Attorney General Eric Holder and other cabinet officials will be closely involved.
Over the next 90 days, the foundations will create a structure for spending the funds on areas, such as early child development, parenting, literacy and economic opportunity.