First in Future: Movement of Youth President and CEO Atrayus Goode

Summary: Jim Johnson at the Kenan-Flagler Business School likes to describe North Carolina’s future this way: “Going forward,” he says, “our state will be grayer and browner.” Like the rest of the country, North Carolinians are, on average, getting older, grayer. In the next 30 years, there will be another million people in the state 65 years or older, beyond the years people say are most productive. The people coming into the workforce, Johnson says, will be browner. Sometime during the mid-2020s, North Carolina high schools will graduate their first majority-minority class. Right now, our state doesn’t do nearly as good a job educating African-Americans, Latinos and Native Americans, or students from low-income backgrounds. Each of these groups is less likely to graduate from high school; less likely to graduate from college; and will, on average, make less money. If older people are going to retire, we need every smart person we can find graduating, ready to think faster, create more and help to invent our future. This week’s guest is working on a solution for one of those groups, young African-Americans. Atrayus Goode, an alum of 100 Black Men of America, founded Movement of Youth, a multi-state group designed to help connect young African-Americans with role models who inspire them to set high goals and dream big dreams. Goode talks with us about leading productive conversations on race, the Service Year NC initiative, and raising kids to be strong, independent leaders.

Excerpt: “My participation in (100 Black Men) really helped me to get to college – eventually, I got a full scholarship from the 100 – and I essentially felt that I had a need to give back. I thought about the ways in which I was served, and it was through mentoring. That’s why I started Movement of Youth.”

Book recommendation: The Denial of Death, Ernest Becker

North Carolinian to Watch: James Ford from the Public School Forum. “Getting to know James, and just the way that he thinks and processes – I’m looking forward to learning from him and seeing where he goes and how he moves, perhaps even finding someway in which we can work together. I think he is really bold when it comes to talking about race, and I really admire the work that he’s doing.”

What does North Carolina’s Homegrown Superhero, The Versatillion, look like? What characteristics, skills and abilities must they possess to be the hero North Carolina needs? Submit your vision for this superhero of the future to our First in Future contest for your first chance at a 2018 Emerging Issues Forum ticket!

Listen to the podcast:

Photos: Christer Berg, Triangle Business Journal