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My Brother’s Keeper Alliance’s Newark Pathways to Success: Boys and Young Men of Color Opportunity Summit Breaks Records in Registration, Participation, and Community and Corporate Engagement

More than 1,400 youth had the opportunity to interact with more than 100 employers and community organizations, get on-the-spot job offers and connection to mentors.

WASHINGTON, D.C. — My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, an initiative of the Obama Foundation, held its final Pathways to Success: Boys and Young Men of Color Opportunity Summit in Newark, NJ. In partnership with My Brother’s Keeper Newark, Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka, Prudential Financial, Inc., and the Prudential Center, the daylong summit provided more than 1,400 boys and young men of color and other underserved youth between the ages of 16 and 29 with space to interview with employers for on-the-spot job offers, immediate access to community resources and social services, connection to mentors, discuss solutions to youth violence, and a chance to participate in career preparation and leadership development trainings.

More than 600 young people participated in initial job interviews, out of which more than 300 received job offers or second interviews. Hundreds more were connected to mentors and community programs and left with resumes, LinkedIn profiles, headshots, ties and blazers, haircuts and more. MBK Newark and its partners are now working to support attendees in getting a good start on new jobs and making connections for youth still seeking opportunities.

“We are so proud of the young people who showed up to take a step forward in their path to career exploration and leadership development. I heard so many encouraging stories from participants and was touched by their tenacity, promise, and dedication to their futures and to the great city of Newark,” said Michael D. Smith, Director of MBK Alliance and Youth Opportunity Programs at the Obama Foundation. “There was no better place to celebrate My Brother’s Keeper fourth anniversary than with more than 1,400 local young people, Mayor Baraka, Prudential, the companies and community resource partners. We are grateful for the all the city leaders who showed up for Newark’s youth in a big way and helped make the Pathways to Success Opportunity Summit a success.”

“The My Brother’s Keeper Alliance Pathways to Success Opportunity Summit for Boys and Young Men of Color exceeded any expectations that could have been set for success. To see hundreds of young men and boys from our community getting haircuts, being fitted for suit jackets, and being shown how to tie a tie in preparation for a job interview was a soul-stirring event,” said Mayor Ras Baraka. I met mothers who brought their sons, teachers who brought their students, and young men who simply needed to hear a word of encouragement as they prepared to greet one of the several dozen employers who were there to hire and recruit new talent. This was a monumental moment for the City of Newark, the Obama Foundation’s My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, Prudential, and the many stakeholders and community partners who engaged with us for this event. I look forward to future opportunities to bring these experiences to the youth in our community.”

During the day-long summit, Newark youth were provided career training and job opportunities. AutoZone; BRAVO! Group Services; Chipotle Mexican Grill; City of Newark-Engineering Department; FedEx; Legends; Macy’s; MPower Direct; New Jersey Performing Arts Center; Prudential; Rutgers University-Newark; RWJBarnabas Health; and Starbucks were among the many companies that extended hundreds of on the spot offers and resources.

“The MBK Pathways to Success Opportunity Summit was an incredible moment for the young men and city of Newark. We are heartened by the success stories we are already seeing from the Summit, and all the opportunities that this platform brought to the youth of our city,” said Shané Harris, vice president, corporate giving, Prudential Financial. “At Prudential, we work to create opportunities for all to achieve financial security. Our investment in MBK, since its launch, is a direct reflection of that work. But we know this work takes time, and we look forward to continuing our partnership with the city of Newark, the Obama Foundation, My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, My Brother’s Keeper Newark and all our partners in this critical mission of providing quality employment pathways for Newark residents.”

Job exploration and community resource partners also attended the Summit to provide youth with tools needed to reach their full potential, including resume writing with Bloomberg Philanthropy and a mentorship connection zone in partnership with the National Basketball Association. Several workshops gave participants the opportunity to dialog with dynamic local and national leaders to discuss leadership development, social media for success, pathways to the boardroom, youth violence prevention, employment skills and more. Summit speakers included David Simas, Obama Foundation CEO; Clinton Yates, The Undefeated, Around The Horn, and ESPN Radio; Angela Yee, Radio Host, Power 105.1 – The Breakfast Club; Lori Dickerson Fouché, Senior Vice President, Individual Solutions Group, Prudential Financial, Inc; and Ryan Haygood, President and CEO, New Jersey Institute for Social Justice.

Since 2016, MBK Alliance has hosted three Opportunity Summits in Oakland, Detroit, and Memphis resulting in over 1,000 on the spot job offers to participants. The Newark 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. Going forward, MBK Alliance will work to accelerate impact in targeted communities, mobilize citizens and resources, and promote what works — all with the goal of encouraging mentorship, reducing youth violence, and improving life outcomes for boys and young men of color.

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President Obama launched My Brother’s Keeper in February 2014 to address persistent opportunity gaps facing boys and young men of color and to ensure all youth can reach their full potential. In 2015 the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance (MBK Alliance) was launched, inspired by My Brother’s Keeper, to scale and sustain the mission. In late 2017, MBK Alliance became an initiative of the Obama Foundation. Within the Obama Foundation, MBK Alliance leads a cross-sector national call to action focused on building safe and supportive communities for boys and young men of color where they feel valued and have clear pathways to opportunity. www.obama.org/MBKA.

About My Brother’s Keeper Newark

My Brother’s Keeper Newark (MBK Newark) was organized by Mayor Baraka in 2016 in response to a national call to action by President Obama. The initiative furthers the mayor’s mission to address persistent opportunity gaps faced by boys and young men of color in Newark and ensure that all young people can reach their full potential, regardless of who they are, where they come from or the circumstances in which they are born.

About Prudential

Prudential is a founding partner of My Brother’s Keeper Newark. Since 2015, Prudential has provided nearly $1 million in grants to establish MBK Newark as a community initiative that is leading Mayor Ras Baraka’s call to action to support boys and young men of color in Newark. Prudential’s support of MBK Newark aligns with the company’s commitments to opportunity youth, and reflects Prudential’s long history of supporting educational attainment and success. This work also leverages the company’s investments to support public safety initiatives, like the Newark Community Street Teams.

Contact: Crystal Carson, [email protected]

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