A new initiative called the DC Boys & Men of Color Internship Program will create internship and mentorship opportunities as part of the city’s Boys and Men of Color Initiative, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser announced March 31.

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D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (Photo Courtesy www.mayor.dc.gov/)

The initiative is a collaborative effort by local donors, nonprofits and community partners in Washington, D.C. whose goal is to address the opportunity gaps challenging the growth of young men of color in the city.

The mayor’s office will collaborate with the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, Enlightened Inc., and the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation in creating one-year paid internships for 100 young men from dental public and public charter schools. The participants were challenged to read President Obama’s book, “The Audacity of Hope” during their winter break.

As part of completing the challenge, these young men were encouraged to brainstorm at least five policies and programs that would help in increasing the success rate of men of color, which the mayor would in turn implement into her administration. The internship program was one of the recommendations suggested by the young men.

“In order to create effective pathways to the middle class, we need to make sure that the next generations of Washingtonians have the tools they need to live, work, and thrive in the District of Columbia,” Bowser said in a statement. “This program will help give young men the experience they need to succeed in the workplace.”

Organizations and companies from the public sector who have agreed to host the selected young men will include the Executive Office of the Mayor, Department of Employment Services, and the D.C. Public Schools. The private subdivision of the initiative hosting the young men includes the D.C. Chamber of Commerce, Enlightened, Inc., and the D.C. Children and Youth Investment Trust Corporation.

Under the supervision of these organizations, the young men will be provided with professional work site, training, financial resources, infrastructure, and program evaluation.

The internship program is intended to ensure that DC young men of color are provided with the resources they will need to enhance their academic growth while also exposing them to career opportunities in several area high-growth industries.