Bank of America joins Greenville Technical College as a partner for an initiative that addresses racial and gender achievement gaps through intensive case management and personalized support services. The African American Male Scholars Initiative (AAMSI) was established in Fall Semester 2019 to overcome barriers and help participants achieve educational and economic success.
Greenville Technical College’s mission is to transform lives through education. Too often, however, African American males haven’t been among the beneficiaries of this transformative power. A year-long study found that African American males at the college had a retention rate of only 42% compared to 56% for white male students. The on-time completion rate for African American males was half that of all males at only 7%. National studies show that the poverty rate for African Americans is more than double the rate for whites. Education is the key to reducing those poverty numbers.
In its first year, AAMSI increased persistence rates for participants to 72% while African American males not taking part in the program persisted at a rate of 66%. Six of the participants graduated with a certificate or degree, and 14 achieved Dean’s List status with GPAs of 3.4 or higher on a minimum of 12 semester credit hours.
“We are very grateful to Bank of America, one of the college’s most committed donors and partners,” said Ann Wright, vice president for advancement with the Greenville Tech Foundation. “If there is a need, they are always willing to help us meet it, and the African American Male Scholars Initiative is yet another example of their generous support.”
Javon Robinson was one of the first-year participants. A freshman studying Cybersecurity, he was grateful for the opportunity to meet African American professionals through the program’s mentoring component and to find support from other students of color who reminded him to keep his head up. Words of encouragement, particularly among a group that may not hear them often, Robinson said, could end up sticking with a person for life. Robinson is on track to graduate in spring 2023 with an associate degree.
Bank of America’s partnership with Greenville Technical College spans more than 25 years. Bank of America Upstate SC President Stacy Brandon says the $50,000 grant aligns with the bank’s commitment to racial equality and will empower more African American males at Greenville Tech with the support needed to complete their education and embark on careers.
“We are honored to partner with Greenville Technical College and the African American Male Scholars Initiative as part of our longstanding commitment to economic mobility in the Upstate,” said Brandon. “Bank of America recognizes that the private sector can play a pivotal role in helping to advance racial equality. This investment provides the training and reskilling necessary to help members of our community find pathways to success.”
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