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Exploring Approaches to Increase Economic Opportunity for Young Men of Color: A 10-Year Review

February 27, 2020

The past decade has brought significant developments in efforts to close equity gaps for young men of color—but additional progress must be made. This report tracks 10 years of progress on increasing economic opportunity for young men of color. It highlights the voices of young men and lifts up seven new and promising approaches: changing narratives, intervening early, empowering young men of color to lead, promoting mental health and well-being, preparing for higher education and careers, building wealth, tailoring interventions to the local context. It also presents recent federal, state, and local policy reforms that show promise for increasing economic opportunity by dismantling structural barriers faced by young men of color. Written for practitioners, policymakers, philanthropy, and advocates, the report concludes with opportunities for action for all audiences.

Boys and Men of Color

Aiming Higher Together: Strategizing Better Educational Outcomes for Boys and Young Men of Color

May 1, 2016

This paper is focused on racial, ethnic, and gender patterns in children's lived experiences that, based on research, seem to contribute to developmental disparities. Studies cited in the paper indicate promising ways to help address race and gender differences in home-based learning activities beginning from birth. To reveal school-related patterns and to measure students perceptions of the quality of teaching they experience, the paper uses student survey results from thousands of classrooms. The author briefly describes some school-improvement approaches that can improve educational outcomes for students of color, with examples of alternatives to out-of-schools suspensions.

Boys and Men of Color; Education

Barriers and Bridges: An Action Plan for Overcoming Obstacles and Unlocking Opportunities for African American Men in Pittsburgh

October 1, 2015

Among the region's residents, Pittsburgh's African American men have historically and disproportionately faced unprecedented barriers to economic opportunities. This study, supported by The Heinz Endowments, focuses on structural barriers that contribute to persistent racial disparities in the Pittsburgh region. Structural barriers are obstacles that collectively affect a group disproportionately and perpetuate or maintain stark disparities in outcomes. Structural barriers can be policies, practices, and other norms that favor an advantaged group while systematically disadvantaging a marginalized group. A community touched by racebased structural barriers can be identified by the racial and economic stratification of its residents; Pittsburgh, like many large cities in the United States, fits that description.

Employment; Neighborhoods and Communities

Understanding The Environmental Contexts Of Boys And Young Men Of Color

February 14, 2015

This essay provides a framework for understanding how various settings influence lives of boys and young men of color. Failure to take these environments into account treats the problems experienced by this group as entirely of their own making and ignores the role that external forces play in contributing to poor outcomes. This essay provides a context for future research and analysis, in hopes that it will examine the lives and circumstances of boys and young men of color using more complex and nuanced perspectives.

Boys and Men of Color; Neighborhoods and Communities

Promoting Healthy Families and Communities for Boys and Young Men of Color

February 4, 2015

This report talks about boys and young men of color who are at risk for poor health and developmental outcomes beginning at birth and persisting through childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. As a result of household poverty and residence in segregated neighborhoods of concentrated disadvantage, they are disproportionately bombarded by environmental threats -- often without the benefits of supportive systems of prevention, protection, and care. This exposure to chronic stress undermines cognitive, social-emotional, and regulatory human development as well as the immune system. The parents of boys and young men of color are similarly affected, which affects boys directly in utero and interferes with their parents' abilities to promote their health and development and to protect them from harm as they mature.

Boys and Men of Color; Employment; Health; Neighborhoods and Communities; Poverty

Reducing Harms to Boys and Young Men of Color from Criminal Justice System Involvement

February 4, 2015

This paper reviews systemic, institutional, and community policies and practices that greatly impact the life chances of boys and young men of color. Policy and practice changes that would reduce criminal justice engagement and that would reduce the harms caused to communities of color from criminal justice engagement are identified and suggestions are made for developing more evidence of effectiveness for initiatives in this area.

Boys and Men of Color; Crime and Justice; Discrimination

Expanding Economic Opportunity for Young Men and Boys of Color through Employment and Training

February 1, 2015

Young men of color have long experienced lower earnings and higher unemployment compared to young white men. Many factors have contributed to these negative outcomes: persistent discrimination, hiring practices of employers, geographic and social isolation, substandard secondary education, lack of career and postsecondary educational guidance, inadequate career and technical education, and higher incarceration rates. This paper focuses on promising strategies for improving the labor market outcomes of low-income young men of color. It outlines an employment-focused approach to improving economic opportunities and outcomes for these young men, highlighting potential policy, system and institutional reforms as well as program investments.

Boys and Men of Color; Education; Employment

The Moynihan Report Revisited

June 1, 2013

The controversial 1965 Moynihan report focused on the roots of black poverty in the U.S. and the decline of the black nuclear family. This report examines the state of black families today, gauging how their circumstances have changed since the 1960s and how they compare with other racial and ethnic groups.

Crime and Justice; Discrimination; Education; Employment; Fatherhood; Neighborhoods and Communities; Poverty

Ten Key Findings From Responsible Fatherhood Initiatives

February 1, 2008

Fatherhood is crucial to child development and presents challenges to poor unmarried men. Yet services addressing these problems are not highly developed or widespread, and program results so far have been mixed. This paper analyzes five programs that support low-income noncustodial fathers and presents takeaway lessons.

Employment; Fatherhood; Neighborhoods and Communities; Philanthropy; Poverty

Declining Employment Among Young Black Less-Educated Men: The Role of Incarceration and Child Support

April 1, 2004

From 1980 to 2000, incarceration levels and enforcement of child support policies -- both of which disproportionately affect young, poorly educated African American men -- increased significantly. The authors performed a quantitative study using state-level data to test the effects of these factors on employment and labor force participation. Indeed, incarceration and child support policies contributed to declining employment among this demographic.

Crime and Justice; Employment; Fatherhood; Poverty

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