Education and Employment of High School Males of Color

High school males of color face a number of barriers to high school graduation attainment and transition into post-secondary and the workforce. Males of color are less likely to graduate from high school. Nationwide, only about half of black and Hispanic males who begin high school will graduate four years later. Teen males of color are far less likely to have access to jobs, work experience and training opportunities that lead to pathways to good jobs. For example, at any given time in 2011, less than 20 percent of African American and Latino teens were employed. Early work experience is especially important for low-income youth, as research shows employment is linked to increased attachment to school and teens who work in high school have a smoother transition into the workforce.

To discuss the policy barriers and solutions to meeting the education and employment needs of these young men, a group of local and national policy leaders, practitioners, advocates, and researchers was assembled. The roundtable discussion began with an overview of some of these issues and then challenged the experts to delve deeper into the specifics regarding education policy, existence of public will and data, and opportunities for action. This paper is a summary of the notes and key themes that emerged during the roundtable discussion.

This and other roundtable discussions informed an issue brief from RWJF and CLASP: "Investing in Boys and Young Men of Color: The Promise and Opportunity."