Kaleem Caire

After four years serving as president and CEO of the Urban League of Madison, Kaleem Caire is moving on to new ways to stay involved with the racial disparity movement in Madison.

The Urban League is a historic civil rights organization established in 1910 whose original goal was to help African-Americans leaving the South and escaping to the North to find a better life.

“We helped them overcome discrimination, find education and also find jobs when they came north,” Caire said. “What we’re really known for is integrating and diversifying corporate America and the public sector.”

The Urban League plays a central role in advocacy, employment training and providing education options to children in Madison schools, he said.

Some of the initiatives that were started under Caire’s leadership include the addition of four new workforce academies as well as the current development of a fifth one.

“We’re the primary representative voice of African-American families in Dane County. It’s important that the league continues to be strong,” Caire said. “In my four years my focus was in making sure that it had an agenda and initiatives that it was operating that could really make a lasting difference in the lives of families here and also be a serious voice for change.”

The number of adults served by the Urban League have increased since Caire first started from 183 to 1,731 last year, he said.

Caire said one of his top priorities has been education. He said the Urban League has established a scholars academy which extends the school day for two extra hours in language arts, reading and math four days a week.

The academy also provides immersion in career-based learning and understanding of higher education. Caire said some of the additions to workforce academies include the growth of the health administrative academy, and the additions of the information technology academy, food service, customer service and sales and trades academies.

The league also works to make the issue of racial disparities a top concern for communities in Dane County, Caire said.

“When I got here nobody was talking about it, now if you ask a political leader what the top three issue are in Dane County, I bet your number one or two would be that issue,” Caire said.

After his resignation from the Urban League, Caire hopes to continue working on racial disparity concerns in the city. Opening avenues in corporations for diverse employment as well as providing opportunities for youth in education are most important for the racial disparity movement in the city, he said.

Caire said he expects that Noble Wray, interim President and CEO at the Urban League, will tighten up some policies related to many of the initiatives he started at the Urban League to ensure that the league is thriving when a new permanent leader is selected.

Tutoring opportunities are available for University of Wisconsin students to get involved with the League and Caire said he hopes students will continue to volunteer with the League and possibly work with them in the long term.

Caire said he wishes to increase the amount of young professionals that choose to stay in Madison following graduation and said he thinks students are the future of the city. He said he hopes to increase the amount of young professionals that choose to stay in the Madison following graduation.

“We want to keep our best and brightest right here. You all are the future of the city,” Caire said.