Skip to content

Strategies to Support Young Men of Color in Early College High Schools

April 13, 2021

At a Glance

Early college high schools are powerful instruments for success for students, especially young men of color. This report outlines strategies to remove systemic barriers to their engagement and provides examples of successful and emerging practices that support all youth in preparing for their future careers through early college programs.

Nancy Hoffman Senior Advisor
Joanna Mawhinney
Anna O'Connor Senior Director
Gregory Seaton

About This Report

Early college high schools are proven, powerful instruments of advancement for young men of color, but the programs must make special efforts to remove barriers to their participation. This report outlines the systemic and institutional causes of low levels of college participation among young men of color—particularly Black and Latinx men—and examines strategies for addressing these obstacles within an early college program.

We focused our research on the relatively new Massachusetts Early College Initiative, though the lessons learned apply to early college programs across the country. Early college programs are laying the groundwork for young people across Massachusetts to successfully transition from high school to college to careers. The goal of Massachusetts’s Early College Initiative is to ensure that every young person earns a postsecondary degree that will provide opportunities to participate fully in the state’s economy.

Early college high school programs are uniquely positioned to facilitate the creation of equitable pathways that truly support all youth in succeeding in college and careers. The key strategies outlined in this report address the challenges young men of color face, with a focus on navigating the challenging academics needed to prepare for, launch, and advance in good careers, and helping students recognize that they have what it takes to succeed at every step. The proof is in the college credits that early college students earn well before they graduate from high school, accelerating their paths to success.

Education Powerhouse Series

This report is part of a series that highlights promising practices from and the early impact of the Massachusetts Early College Initiative.


Building a Foundation for Early College in Grades 9 and 10

Encouraged by strong initial results from early college high school programs, Massachusetts aims to further expand them throughout the state. This report outlines strategies for reaching more students: expanding access to students in grades 9…

July 30, 2021

Early College High School Is Changing Students’ Lives and Futures in Lawrence, Massachusetts

Hundreds of students at Lawrence High School in Massachusetts are getting a head start on their college careers, thanks to an innovative model that helps students prepare for and earn college degrees while in high…

November 12, 2021

Related Content


Massachusetts Early College

Massachusetts early college high school programs are laying the groundwork for young people across the state to successfully transition from high school to college and careers. In Partnership With An Education Powerhouse: Massachusetts Early College…

April 13, 2021

How Intermediaries Can Help Black and Latinx Youth Develop a Strong Occupational Identity: Four Principles of Practice

This resource provides four guiding principles that intermediary staff and leaders can use to support equitable career outcomes for youth—particularly Black and Latinx youth and young people who are experiencing poverty. Intermediary organizations—sometimes known as…

December 9, 2020