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Young Men United is an innovative education equity and economic advancement initiative that will help young men of color achieve their academic and vocational dreams.   


Through exposure to different industries and careers, and employing a strong mentorship component, this program will guide students from high school to college or job training and into a full-time career aligned with their dreams and goals, creating a pipeline of leaders that will strengthen and diversify our workforce.


  • Break down barriers to opportunity, access, and earning power for young men of color 

  • Help hundreds of young men of color locally complete high school, a post-secondary higher education or job training, and enter the workforce with a meaningful career 

  • Create a community of young men who will support one another to realize their full potential 


College & Career Guidance

Exposure and awareness of different careers and post-secondary pathways

College & Career Guidance

College and career guidance (academic program research, application, and financial aid guidance)

Professional Development

Access to and guidance on training programs and trade education opportunities

Financial Planning & Support

Financial and educational support  

Mentorships & Internships

Mentorships, internships, and job experiences

Connection to supportive resources for students and their families

Connection to supportive resources for students and their families (housing, food, mental health support, and more) 


The program launched in 2022 with student groups from Benjamin Franklin and Patterson high schools in Baltimore City. Young Men United is executed in partnership with I AM MENtality, a local organization that provides comprehensive mentoring and leadership development services for youth. Other partners will include local nonprofits, businesses, and historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs).



As a result of systemic and institutional barriers, many young men of color don’t have access to the networks, supportive mentors, financial resources, post-secondary preparedness programs, and pre-professional experiences that lead to academic and career success. 

  • Only 23% of Black men and 28% of Hispanic men in the Baltimore area have a bachelor’s degree or higher versus 47% of White men.

  • In Baltimore City, 58% of White residents are  employed in  management, business, science, and arts occupations versus 29% of Black residents. 

  • Nationally, Black men have the lowest four-year college completion rate of all groups (only 40%) and are the most likely to leave without a degree (41%) 

At United Way, we know that education is the foundation of future success—and strong individuals and families make for strong communities. Young Men United will support its participants throughout their journeys, as well as connect them and their families with critical resources like housing and food assistance, counseling services, financial education, and more. 

"I wish Young Men United was an option when my friends and I began our college and career journeys. It is truly a game changer that will strengthen and improve both lives and our workplaces."

–Franklyn Baker, President and CEO, United Way of Central Maryland

Franklyn Baker, National Co-Chair, Young Men United, and President and CEO, United Way of Central Maryland

What students are saying:

Applicants for this innovative program have told us they want to become architects, veterinarians, detectives, electrical engineers, and more. 

“I would like to have guidance in order to get into college.” 

“I want to have my own business.” 

“I hope to go to college and get a degree. I want to major in something, but I don’t know what it is yet.” 

“I just want to get into college and succeed in life.” 


Funding for this nine-year initiative will come from a variety of sources, including state and federal funding opportunities and other grant opportunities, and support from corporate partners and individual donors–those who believe in the promise of equity and the power of education and job training. 

You can help young men right here in the Baltimore region achieve their dreams. Support Young Men United today.