Providing a pathway for youth at risk of missing opportunities to succeed in our nation is an effective strategy to promote prosperity and break the cycle of poverty that occupies many communities across the United States. New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg last week announced a new initiative that reinforces this philosophy of youth engagement. The effort aims to address the economic challenges facing young black and Latino males across New York’s five boroughs.
The program takes a unique approach by linking private resources with municipal funds to expand capacity for youth employment, education, and mentoring programs in New York City. The cost of this new initiative will be funded with $67.5 million of city funding, $30 million from the Campaign for Black Male Achievement of the Open Society Foundations, and $30 million from Bloomberg Philanthropies.
Over the next three years, this public-private partnership will invest more than $127 million in programs to help expand these kinds of opportunities across more than a dozen city agencies. The new program will attempt to tackle some of the most pervasive challenges facing young black and Latino youth, among them low employment, lack of access to social support, and debilitating involvement with the criminal justice system. All of these barriers are predictable indicators for a life of economic hardship and frequently poverty.
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