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President Barack Obama using an iPad while visiting a classroom in Maryland in February.

President Barack Obama using an iPad while visiting a classroom in Maryland in February.

Used with permission of the White House

NYC signs onto Obama’s push to give young minority men a lift

New York City is among 60 of the nation’s largest urban school districts that are pledging to help President Barack Obama push an initiative to improve educational and job opportunities for African-American and Latino boys.

Part of the symbolic agreement, which Obama plans to announce Monday, will mean cities agree to expand early education and increase its offerings of advanced coursework for at-risk boys. The city’s Department of Education has already prioritized those policies, but the deal means students will get a boost from new programs launched by the Obama administration.

One is the creation of mentoring program, called ServiceWorks, that will pair volunteers with students to provide them with workplace and professional networking skills. White House officials said New York City will be one of 10 cities where the three-year, $10 million program, funded by Citi Foundation, will get off the ground and that the program’s recipients, young people between 16-24, will eventually get a chance to lead their own service projects.

Obama’s plans also lean on UBS America, which made a $10 million commitment last month to help underprivileged students, specifically young minority men, gain skills they need for a successful career. The five-year program is launching in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The programs are among the first to come out of Obama’s $200 million My Brother’s Keeper initiative, first launched in February. The initiative‘s funding relies primarily on donations from corporate charities.

My Brother’s Keeper mirrors New York City’s three-year-old Young Men’s Initiative, a $127 million program that was launched with $30 million pledges from billionaire philanthropist George Soros and former Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The city will provide nearly $70 million.

That city’s initiative has focused on programs emphasizing mentorship and literacy that narrow the achievement gap between male black and Latino students and others. Since launching, the initiative has also focused on providing job training skills.