How does identity shape the occupational choices of young people?

The goal of Equitable Futures, a project of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is to build stronger connections and alignment between K-12 schools and education, post-secondary institutions, and employers to improve labor market outcomes and promote paths to upward mobility and economic opportunity for Black, Latino, and low-income young people. A vital component of this effort is a structured research program supported by this initiative that explores, by engaging directly with young people, how they believe their occupational identity is developed, and how that identity informs their career goals and aspirations.

Featured Research


What does success look like to young people of color? What are the resources they need to access educational and employment opportunities? What barriers stand in their way?

Learn more in new research on Occupational Identity formation among Black and Hispanic young people and young people from households with lower incomes.

“I wake up and want to do it … I’m motivated. I’m dedicated. I’m driven … I’m completely in tune with just the feeling that I’m fulfilled.” – New York, Black male, 17-21