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A grant from the office of Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker is funding a new initiative called 100 Males to College. The program seeks to prepare young men from the Greater Brockton area to succeed in school.
Cross-divisional teams at Bridgewater State University and Massasoit Community College are launching the program in conjunction with Brockton High School and Southeastern Regional Vocational Technical School. Administrators at the two high schools will identify 100 promising 10th and 11th grade low-income and/or male students of color whose grades indicate that with a small amount of additional support would likely complete high school and enroll in college.
Bridgewater State and Massasoit will train peer college mentors to work with these young men in guiding them and impressing on them the importance of college. The program will also provide college and career planning and financial aid literacy to help them navigate college admissions, and other skills classes to help them succeed in college. The 100 males will take dual enrollment classes and engage in other college experiences.
Dr. Sabrina Gentlewarrior, vice president of Student Success and Diversity, said the program fills an important need. “This type of work is key to closing the achievement gap, and Bridgewater is excited to be part of this initiative,” she said.
A benefit of the 100 Males to College program, Dr. Gentlewarrior added, is that it builds on BSU’s already strong partnerships with Massasoit State College and the two participating high schools.
Implementation planning is currently underway, with the launch of the program in June. Mentoring and the dual enrollment courses will begin in September.
Recently, BSU President Frederick W. Clark Jr. and Carlos E. Santiago, commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education, co-wrote an op-ed piece in which they described problems facing the commonwealth which they believe 100 Males to College will address. It reads in part:
Massachusetts faces a crisis. It’s a crisis that too few people are talking about. But it’s one that has the potential to significantly weaken our state’s economic growth, hinder business investment and undermine our competitiveness.
The situation is born of two demographic certainties. As the Baby Boom generation retires, Massachusetts will be losing hundreds of thousands of college-educated workers. At the same time, the state’s population of high school graduates is expected to decline seven percent. The confluence of these two developments is that there will be nearly 46,000 fewer adults ages 25-64 in Massachusetts with a college degree in 2030 than in 2020.
The problem, the president and Commissioner Santiago wrote, is exacerbated in Massachusetts, since the commonwealth’s workforce relies so heavily on college graduates.
The program has already been implemented in Springfield and Framingham, and is showing early success: Of the young men involved in the initial program in Springfield, all are graduating high school and 95 percent are going on to college. (Story by John Winters, G ’11, University News & Media)