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My Brother's Keeper Alliance Brings “Pathways to Success: Boys and Young Men of Color Opportunity Summit” to Memphis

June 22, 2017 at 6:24 PM CDT

More than 1,000 Memphis youth, including boys and young men of color, had the opportunity to interact and interview with employers, and be hired on-the-spot

MEMPHIS – My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK Alliance) hosted its “Pathways to Success: Boys and Young Men of Color Opportunity Summit” today in collaboration with the City of Memphis, Memphis Office of Youth Services, the Greater Memphis Chamber, Workforce Investment Network, the Memphis Grizzlies and the Memphis Police Department. More than 1,000 Memphis youth, including boys and young men of color, between the ages of 16 and 29 attended today’s summit. Youth had the opportunity to interview with employers, get hired on-the-spot, access community resources and social services, and participate in career preparation and leadership development training. MBK Alliance collaborated with more than 80 companies and community based organizations to help create pathways to success for Memphis boys and young men. Nearly 500 youth were offered jobs on the spot or a chance for a second interview in the coming weeks.

“The ‘Pathways to Success: Boys and Young Men of Color Opportunity Summit’ showcases the My Brother’s Keeper approach to helping boys and young men meet their personal and professional goals. We connect talent to jobs, mentors, social services and the resources they need to help navigate and overcome barriers to success from cradle to career and beyond," said Broderick Johnson, MBK Alliance Board Chairman and Partner for the international law firm, Bryan Cave. “The City of Memphis and community, business and philanthropic leaders are advancing our shared goals of creating an enduring change that will lead to the future these young men aspire to – for themselves and for the city.”

MBK Alliance unites business, philanthropy, nonprofit, government, community, youth, and other influencers in support of tomorrow’s leaders. Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland praised participants and sponsors for the partnership that has worked to bring change to the city. “Connecting our young people with the opportunity that exists in Memphis has been a priority of my administration since day one,” Strickland said. “What we do for our young people will have a major impact on the future of our city, which is why I’m so proud that we’ve partnered with the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance to bring this event here.”

Key sponsors of the MBK Alliance Opportunity Summit, included: FedEx, The Walt Disney Company, and International Paper with support from AutoZone and Kroger Delta Division. As principal sponsor of the summit, FedEx is committed to giving pathways to meaningful employment and expanding opportunities for local Memphis youth and communities across the globe.

“FedEx understands that everyone has their own goals and must follow a different path to get there,” said Chris Winton, Vice President of Human Resources at FedEx. “The diverse backgrounds and skills of our team members make FedEx what we are today, and our aim is to provide the support underserved populations need to prepare for secondary education or entering the workforce. The MBK Alliance Opportunity Summit aligns with our FedEx Cares Employment Pathways pillar, in which we are leveraging our global reach to provide pathways to success for young adults.”

During the summit, Memphis boys and young men were provided immense career training and job opportunities. AutoZone, Checkers, Chipotle, Five Guys, JCPenney, Macy’s, Nike, ServiceMaster, Starbucks, Technicolor, Turner Construction, University of Memphis, and Walgreens, among others, were companies that extended hundreds of on-the-spot job offers.

Job exploration and community resource partners also attended the summit to help empower youth with the tools needed to reach their full potential across MBKA’s six milestones: 1) enter school ready to learn; 2) read at grade level by third grade; 3) graduate from high school ready for college and career; 4) complete post-secondary education or training; 5) successfully enter the workforce; and 6) contribute to healthy communities, resulting in violence reduction.

The Memphis Police Department also helped engage and recruit young men of color to promote diverse and inclusive local law enforcement. Applicants were able to go through a full cycle of recruitment, including a physical aptitude test, 1.5 mile run, and written examination while onsite for the event.

"We are proud to be the first municipality to conduct a police recruit process at an MBK Opportunity Summit,” Alexandria Smith, Chief Human Resources Officer, City of Memphis. “We hope this leads the way for future cities to consider this as an option in the future."

The subsequent opportunity workshops further offered solutions to support boys and young men of color in securing, maintaining and advancing in employment. Each young person had the opportunity to engage in mock interviews, gain practical career advice, and hear from a range of speakers rallying their support.

Other summit speakers included Lamman Rucker, actor, activist, educator, entrepreneur; Bakari Sellers, lawyer, CNN Political Commentator and representative of South Carolina’s 90th district in the state legislature from 2006 to 2014; Moziah “Mo” Bridges, CEO of Mo’s Bows and Season 5 “Shark Tank” contestant; Dr. Sampson Davis, Dr. Rameck Hunt and Dr. George Jenkin, authors of “The Pact”; Damon Young, writer and co-founder, Very Smart Brothas; Shahidah Jones, Black Lives Matter and social media expert; and David Rose, founder and executive director, Inner L.I.G.H.T.

“I’m especially proud to be involved with a community that walks the walk when it comes to making a difference,” said Mo Bridges, CEO of Mo’s Bows.

MBK Alliance has already connected thousands of young people to opportunities in cities such as Oakland, California and Detroit, Michigan. The Memphis summit was set to inspire youth to persevere past barriers, and receive the support and information needed to lead them on the pathway to success. MBK Alliance will continue to connect young people to opportunities and empower all boys and young men of color to succeed.


About MBK Alliance:

My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK Alliance) is an independent, nonpartisan 501(c)(3) born out of President Obama’s call to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color and ensure all youth can reach their full potential. In order to improve life outcomes, MBK Alliance works to elevate the voices of our nation’s BYMOC and unite business, philanthropy, nonprofit, government, community leaders, and youth to impact lasting social change. This collaborative, cross-sectoral movement led by MBK Alliance helps break down barriers that BYMOC disproportionately face and creates pathways to promising futures. For more information visit, online, on Twitter and on Facebook.

Contact: Charmion Kinder, Communications Director, [email protected]