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College receives grant to ensure success of African American males in STEM

Special to The Dallas Examiner | 11/23/2015, 7:33 a.m.
Cedar Valley College, one of seven independently accredited colleges that make up the Dallas County Community College District, has been ...

Special to The Dallas Examiner

Cedar Valley College, one of seven independently accredited colleges that make up the Dallas County Community College District, has been awarded a grant from the Department of Education’s Predominantly Black Institutions program. The college will receive $2,452,567 over the next five years to focus on science, technology, engineering and math programs.

Cedar Valley plans to use the grant to promote enrollment and participation in STEM programs among young African American men who reside in communities surrounding the college in Southern Dallas County. The grant will also be used to create positive synergies between Cedar Valley College’s African American Male Initiative and the recently developed Pipelines and Pathways project, designed to promote success for male students of color.

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson presented the first installment of the grant to the college at a press conference on Nov. 11 in the college’s state-of-the art Math, Science & Allied Health Building.

“To address poverty and quality of life issues in our communities, education will play a key role,” she said. “I am very pleased to see Cedar Valley College at the forefront of eliminating barriers and providing opportunities for Black male students to succeed in the STEM fields of math, science and technology. Their STEM education will be key in helping these students to secure good paying jobs in the 21st century.”

Dr. Jennifer Wimbish, president of Cedar Valley College, lauded Johnson’s grant development team for an innovative proposal that resulted in the college being the only Texas institution to receive a PBI grant for this round of funding.

“Our African American Male Initiative has much in common with President’s Obama’s My Brother’s Keeper initiative, which was created to provide high-return opportunities for disadvantaged youth,” she said. “We truly believe this opportunity will be a life-changing experience for young African American men who benefit from this generous grant. It all starts with providing opportunities for success.”

Lancaster ISD has been a partner of the college for a number of years and the campus, which sits next to Lancaster High School, houses many programs that the district’s students take part in. Superintendent Dr. Michael McFarland was present for the announcement and highlighted the character and leadership of both the college president and the congresswoman.

“Both Dr. Wimbish and Congresswoman Johnson are servant leaders who have worked tirelessly to provide opportunities for the Best Southwest and Southern Sector,” he said. “Their legacies here will live on long after they’re gone.”

The college’s African American Male Initiative will target 6,000 students over a five-year period. Anticipated results include a 15 percent increase in the number of young Black men who enroll in STEM courses, with a secondary outcome of ensuring those students complete their associate degree and acquire marketable knowledge and skills. The program’s overall goal is to improve the college’s African American male retention rate by 15 percent between year one and two, with a 3 percent increase in the graduation rate from 5 percent to 8 percent over the five-year period.

“Congratulations to Cedar Valley College for securing this important grant that will contribute directly to student success, which is our top priority. With support provided by this grant, our students will be able to graduate with a degree or certificate or to prepare for the next phase of their educational journey,” said Dr. Joe D. May, DCCCD chancellor.

For more information on the grant and initiative, contact Henry Martinez, director of marketing and public relations at Cedar Valley College, at 972-860-8142 or hmartinez@dcccd.edu.