Sinclair’s African American Male Initiative nearly triples in 3 years

It has been three years since the establishment of the African American Male Initiative program at Sinclair College. The program now serves 70 students, up from 24 students during the initial year. CONTRIBUTED
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It has been three years since the establishment of the African American Male Initiative program at Sinclair College. The program now serves 70 students, up from 24 students during the initial year. CONTRIBUTED

Three years after the African American Male Initiative (AAMI) program at Sinclair College launched, it now serves 70 students, and several of them say the mentoring and support offered has helped them succeed.

The program was designed to address the low college attainment rates for African American men at Sinclair. The program also aims to dramatically improve the quality of life for men of color who choose to attend the college.

It served 24 students during the initial year.

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In May, more than 1,300 minority students graduated from Sinclair, in addition to a record number of 2,103 low-income students as a result of the college’s participation in organizations such as AAMI.

“This year is the first year ever in our modern history where the number of African American males graduating and the number of African American males’ certificates and degrees outstrip African American females,” Sinclair President Steve Johnson said. “And the number of African American males completing successfully exceeds the number of all the other minority categories combined.”

Students enrolled in the AAMI are case managed by a coordinator who monitors progress, financial aid, advising, and customized academic pathways for students. The coordinator is also responsible for communicating with students about upcoming events, service learning opportunities (on andoff- campus), leadership and employment opportunities.

With the help of the program, Kali Muhammad, a graduate from Sinclair’s Culinary Arts program, was able to gain employment and get on the road to success.

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“AAMI has helped me in many ways. From building connections to lifelong friendships,” Muhammad said. “There have been many times when my personal problems have come in the way of my education, and I would not have been able to get through it had it not been for the mentors and support system I had through the AAMI.”

Over 10 years, Sinclair has experienced more than a 400% increase in the number of degrees and certificates awarded to African American male students and over a 200% increase for all minority students.

The number of degrees and certificates earned by low-income students has also increased by more than 40% over the past 10 years.

“When I enrolled in Sinclair’s Culinary Arts program, my goal was to one day start my own company in the food services industry,” Muhammad said. “Less than a year after graduating from the program, I have my own catering business, and I couldn’t have done that without Sinclair and the connections I made through the AAMI program.”

The initiative has four main goals outlined in its mission statement:

— Certificate and Degree Completion,

— Term to Term Persistence Rate,

— Maintaining a GPA in Good Standing, and

— Personal and Professional Development.

The development of personal and professional life is at the heart of the AAMI program, said spokeswoman Deena John.

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