Consider this: A study on SAT scores found that among those scoring above 700, 45% were white students, while 1% were Black students. A 2012 study found that 22% of students in poverty drop out of high school, compared to 6% of those who’ve never lived in poverty. These numbers follow students into their professional lives, making it more difficult to acquire or maintain jobs. Black unemployment rates have, for decades, consistently been double white unemployment rates.

Inequitable outcomes means there should be counterbalancing investment in communities that have been structurally disinvested in for years. Some organizations are making these strategic equitable resource allocations and continuing to stand up enrichment programs for students in low-income communities in an effort to level the playing field.

Even as we institute and strengthen such programs, I think we need to widen the scope of what it will take to empower youth of color from marginalized communities to be equipped for a life of thriving. Instead of only focusing on the careers we know today, ask how we are preparing for the careers we don't even have language for yet. We must go beyond this substantial goal and make sure our youth are ready to excel in what we at Big Thought, the nonprofit I run, have taken to calling the CreatEconomy.

There are many paths nonprofit leaders can take to help prepare young students. For example, we empower the youth we work with to think of themselves as creators, imagine new ways of solving problems, approach challenges methodically and create something from nothing.

In our roles as youth development professionals, we can shift our approach to help students discover what fires their synapses. We can ask questions, dig deeper and create the experiences that light up the parts of the brain where innovation happens. Following those natural interests can help children develop skills they’ll lean on later in life.

Read the full article about youth development by Byron Sanders at Forbes.