December 16, 2015

Mayor Emanuel Announces New Cabinet To Develop Plan to Improve Opportunities for Minority Youth as Part of My Brother’s Keeper Challenge

Cabinet will create a comprehensive citywide plan to address barriers and improve outcomes for Chicago’s minority youth

Mayor's Press Office    312.744.3334

Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced the My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Cabinet, comprised of representatives from the faith-based, business, civic, and educational communities, to spearhead a comprehensive citywide strategy that builds on the city’s ongoing work to expand opportunity for every child and young man of color in Chicago. The Cabinet will build on existing citywide collaborations to create a comprehensive, cradle-to-career approach to help all minority youth reach their full potential.

The MBK Cabinet is aligned with the framework set forth by President Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge, which calls upon cities nationwide to implement a comprehensive strategy aimed at improving life outcomes and success for minority youth. Mayor Emanuel announced Chicago’s participation as a MBK community last year, and in recognition of the issues facing the City, has assembled the Cabinet to address ways to expand access to economic opportunity, education and jobs.

“We as a city can only reach our full potential when every child in every neighborhood has an opportunity to reach theirs, and we all have a role to play,” said Mayor Emanuel. “We have assembled this Cabinet to ensure that representatives from all aspects of the city have a seat at the table as we work to ensure that we provide all of our residents—no matter their heritage or which neighborhood they hail from—the opportunities necessary to be successful in the 21st century. The Cabinet will help us live up to our values as a city that is committed to investing in our youth and ensuring that all of our children live up to their full potential.”

The MBK Cabinet will include and build on the longstanding commitments by organizations like Urban Prep, Instituto del Progresso, Youth Guidance, the Campaign for Black Male Achievement, the YMCA and others that have demonstrated a results-oriented approach to serving young men of color. The effort launched today is focused on unlocking the full potential of children and young men of color – something that will not only benefit them, but all Chicagoans, as improving outcomes for all of Chicago’s youth will benefit the city’s future as a whole.

The MBK Cabinet builds on the Mayor’s steadfast commitment to invest in programs that eliminate barriers to success and improve outcomes for minority youth. These barriers, which disproportionately affect young males of color, include: intergenerational poverty, incarceration, health risks, and lower rates of academic achievement. As the mayor said in his 2015 inaugural address, “This is our challenge as a society – and as a city. No longer can we tolerate leaving so many young people behind.”

Through the MBK challenge, the Mayor’s Cabinet will make recommendations on how the City will build on existing efforts to address systemic issues that disproportionately affect young males of color, including lower literacy rates, lower employment rates, and higher chances of incarceration in a lifetime.

As the Cabinet works to develop its comprehensive plan, they will review “Milestones” identified by MBK—which are predictive of later success for youth, and where youth interventions have been found to have the greatest impact.

One of the Milestones calls for ensuring that all youth receive a quality high school education that prepares them for success in college or career training. This includes increased access to rigorous, college-level coursework for all students. The Cabinet will work with CPS to expand programs like Advanced Placement, International Baccalaureate and dual enrollment options in high school, courses that are shown to increase college completion with student exposure to rigorous coursework.

Additionally, in collaboration with the District, the Cabinet will codify and measure key indicators of student success and better determine youth who are at-risk for dropping out of school through the new My Brother’s Keeper Scorecard. The scorecard will measure: enrollment in early learning programs; elementary literacy rates; freshman on track and graduation rates; enrollment in rigorous coursework; youth employment; college enrollment and completion rates for children and young men of color.

“CPS has made continued investments in rigorous programming like AP and IB—and these investments have paid off with not only more students graduating from high school than ever before, but with more minority students participating in college level coursework than ever before,” said Dr. Janice K. Jackson, Chief Education Officer for Chicago Public Schools. “These increased participation rates suggest that more students each year will graduate from high school with the confidence they need to be not only college-bound, but college-ready.”

Another milestone that the Cabinet will address early on is the creation of jobs and opportunities to reintegrate formerly incarcerated youth. Under Mayor Emanuel, the City has made a concerted and coordinated effort to expand employment for formerly incarcerated youth. Since 2011, access to employment for formerly incarcerated individuals has grown by 79 percent, and the city has worked to engage hundreds of these same youths in career and technical education training programs each year at our City Colleges of Chicago.

The 22-member Cabinet is comprised of representatives of the Chicago Public Schools, the faith-based community, non-profits, businesses and more—all of whom play a role in ensuring our youth are prepared for adulthood and have access to key opportunities that will ensure success. The MBK Cabinet will meet quarterly with top City officials, assess progress via key data measures, identify gaps and barriers to success, and develop policy recommendations to improve critical outcomes.

Tim King and Juan Salgado will serve as co-chairs to the Cabinet, and the other introductory cabinet members include:
• Berto Aguayo – Hoops in the Hood
• Torrey Barrett – KLEO Center
• Eddie Bocanegra – YMCA of Chicago
• Noel Chambers – Boys and Girls Club of Chicago
• Charlie Dates – Progressive Baptist Church
• Evelyn Diaz – Heartland Alliance
• Adrian Esquivel – Chicago Workforce Funders Alliance
• Shayne Evans – University of Chicago
• Kirk Harris – Fathers, Families, and Healthy Communities
• Monica Haslip – Little Black Pearl
• Janice Jackson – Chicago Public Schools
• Aarti Kotak – City of Chicago; Planning and Development
• Tim King – Urban Prep Academies
• Sequane Lawrence – Chicago Center for Arts and Technology
• Patrick Milton – Chicago Public Schools
• Katya Nuques – En Lace
• Juan Salgado – Instituto del Progresso Latino
• Sheldon Smith – Dovetail Project
• Alfred Tatum – University of Illinois Chicago
• Al Toledo – Chicago Tabernacle
• Carl Tutt – 100 Black Men of Chicago
• AJ Watson – Youth Guidance

“I am proud to support any initiative that promotes greater opportunities for our youth, particularly children and young men of color,” said Tim King, Founder and CEO, Urban Prep Academies. “I look forward to my role as co-chair to the Mayor's MBK Cabinet. With the mayor’s leadership on and commitment to this initiative, Chicago’s youth will be even closer to realizing their full promise and potential.”

Under the current administration, the City of Chicago has executed a systematic approach to develop and expand programs that have a transformational impact on young men of color – reducing violence, increasing educational attainment, and expanding pathways to meaningful careers. The City has created partnerships and funding mechanisms to build and expand successful programs, tripled investment in research-based intervention programs, and made key policy reforms—particularly at the school level—which together are working to expand opportunities and reduce violence for children and young men of color.

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