GREENSBORO, N.C. -- President Barack Obama says helping boys and young men of color stay on the right path will benefit the U.S. economy in the long run.

The president discussed his "My Brother's Keeper" initiative for minority males during an ESPN-hosted forum Tuesday in Greensboro, North Carolina.

Obama says today's young people of color are the workers, taxpayers and business customers of the future. He says it's will be bad for everyone, not just the young people themselves, if they are unemployed, underemployed or in prison.

Obama calls investing in them and helping them achieve their potential an "American challenge."

The president says he'd like more people to get involved. He plans to stay active with "My Brother's Keeper" after he leaves office in January.

ESPN broadcasted the forum Tuesday night which touched on topics including race, sports, and achievement.

WFMY News 2 Sports Anchor Liz Crawford talked with students who attended the forum.

Senior student at the N.C. A&T Middle College Christopher Holland said, "He inspired me to do better, I can do it, not just to help myself and focus on me but to focus on the rest of the people around me that I’m not the only one trying to succeed, also help others around me to succeed as well."

"My grandparents didn’t think there'd be a black president, the fact that I actually shook his hand, saw him live and in person, I think that’s an honor and a blessing," added Jaelun DeGraphenreid, another student at the forum.