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Arne Duncan to Focus on Disconnected Youth at the Emerson Collective


Former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan has announced his next chapter: He's joined the Emerson Collective, where he will be focusing on disconnected youth between the ages of 17 and 24 in his native Chicago, including high school dropouts and those with criminal records. 

Duncan's official title will be managing partner for the Palo Alto, Calif.,-based philanthropy and advocacy organization, which is led up by Laurene Powell Jobs, the widow of Apple co-founder Steve Jobs. The Emerson Collective works on education redesign, immigration overhaul, and other social policies.

The Emerson Collective is also home to Russlyn Ali, who headed up the U.S. Department of Education's office for civil rights during Duncan's first term as education secretary. She's now managing director for education. And Jamie Fasteau, a former top aide for Rep. George Miller, D-Calif., who served as both chairman and ranking member of the House education committee, is there too, as a director of policy for education.

Duncan's initial goal, according to the organization's website, will be to provide job opportunities for young people and to help at-risk kids transition to the workplace.

"A young person growing up in Chicago ought to be able to chart a clear road map toward a bright future," Duncan said in a statement. "But for too many inner-city kids, the path is marred by poverty, violence, broken social networks and schools that can't keep up with the challenges in tough neighborhoods. The violence is a symptom of hopelessness and our priority is to give young people hope by getting them jobs."

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