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Obama Launches Effort To Help Minority Men In Employment

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President Barack Obama speaks about the farm bill, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014, at Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich. The president planned to sign the farm bill at Michigan State University, choosing middle America for a rare celebration of Washington political compromise. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin) | ASSOCIATED PRESS

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama is obtaining commitments from foundations, businesses and community groups to help young minority men improve their employment opportunities and to intervene before some of them get sucked into the criminal justice system.

Obama is launching the "My Brother's Keeper" initiative Thursday, matching his State of the Union pledge to "help more young men of color ... stay on track and reach their full potential."

The president has invited business, foundation and community leaders to the White House Thursday to announce the effort.

The unemployment rate last month for African-American men over the age of 20 was 12 percent, compared with 5.4 percent for white men. Hispanic men over the age of 20 faced an unemployment rate of 8.2 percent.

Obama will also order his administration to examine programs that work and to discard those that do not help improve the lives of minority men. The White House pointed to bipartisan initiatives already underway to change criminal justice practices and guidelines.

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