For decades, opportunities have lagged behind for men of color. Man Up, Inc. was formed in Rhode Island in September of 2011, to provide a broad range of unique workforce development and higher educational opportunities, resources and support services to adult men of color, who have not been afforded the opportunity to aspire to more progressive goals; while simultaneously addressing the social, financial and legal issues that create barriers to employment and education.
Our approach involves: (1) Leadership in the public private, and community sectors; (2) The expertise of the education, workforce and youth development professionals and (3) Community resources in a coordinated way to put men of color on track to better futures. Program “graduates” are fully prepared to enter the workforce and/or obtain a college degree, and become economically self-sufficient and contributing members of the Rhode Island community.
Man Up ensures that more men of color gain the skills and credentials necessary to open the door to education, higher wages and career opportunities. We accomplish our goals though an evidence-based approach that combines: (1) Accredited job training leading to industry-recognized credentials; (2) Job placement in the high-demand manufacturing, construction and defense industries, other occupations, and enrollment in institutions of higher learning and (3) An effective social support system (challenging case management policies, practices and procedures, counseling and community referrals).
As such, the program directly responds to the many local and national initiatives that focus on advancing equity and social justice for men of color, and specifically, creating economic sustainability.
Man Up further, addresses the high rate of recidivism that unfortunately plagues men of color who are under-educated, unemployed, under-employed, at risk, or who have trouble being placed in employment due to other compelling factors. Participants are referred to our organization through the RI Court system (State/Federal); judicial/correctional agencies; work-force development programs; other non-profit education and social service provider organizations and many, by our own participants.
As men in our organization steadily work toward attaining the goals they have set for themselves, they are able to effectively close the economic, educational and lifestyles gaps, and change the trajectory of their lives, the lives of their families and communities.
“Education and work are the levers to uplift a people. Work alone will not do it unless inspired by the right ideals and guided by intelligence. Education must not simply teach work – it must teach life.”