New collaboration to address needs, achievement of young black males

May 15, 2014

A new collaboration between the city of Omaha and more than 40 organizations seeks to meet the needs of and improve conditions for young black men.

Leon Andrews of the National League of Cities speaks Thursday in Omaha about initiatives to improve outcomes for young black males.
Credit Katie Knapp Schubert / KIOS-FM

The National League of Cities is providing technical assistance to the Omaha African-American Male Achievement Collaboration. The goal is to identify 865 young black males, in kindergarten through 12th grade, reduce the achievement gap, and address at-risk behaviors.

Willie Barney, president of the Empowerment Network, says good things are happening in the black community.

"Our young men are creative, they’re resilient, they’re brilliant. And now this is an opportunity to help them show what they have. We want to make sure that every single one of them has the best opportunity possible to reach their full potential. So that’s what this is about."

The OAAMAC has identified several strategies. One is to expand the number of black men, fathers, parents, and mentors engaged in the lives of young people. Another is to design what’s called the “Cradle to Career Pathway.” It’ll address early childhood opportunities, services, school attendance, and equity in funding.

Omaha is one of 11 cities to receive the National League of Cities assistance.