Continuing Progress: How Urban Community Colleges Are Improving Outcomes for Minority Men
A new issue brief from ACCT examines how urban community colleges can help minority men overcome barriers to postsecondary education and improve economic outcomes.
Community colleges have an important role in supporting economic opportunity in urban areas. While urban areas generally experience high levels of economic prosperity, especially compared to rural areas, individuals who have not participated in postsecondary education and training face barriers to taking full advantage of the opportunities available. 
Low educational attainment and a resulting lack of economic opportunity are problems that negatively impact both men and women in America’s cities; however, because they are less likely to enroll in postsecondary education, we focus specifically on men in our issue brief, Continuing Progress: How Urban Community Colleges are Improving Outcomes for Minority Men. We also look at the barriers faced by men of color, who are disproportionately impacted by barriers to postsecondary education. In recent years, community colleges have made strides to improve educational attainment and success for men of color, yet still have more opportunity to support this student population.
In this brief, we looked at what Tarrant County College (TCC) in Fort Worth, Texas and the City University of New York (CUNY) in New York City are doing to support minority men.
In 2018, TCC launched the Men of Color Collaborative (MCC) to help the state meet its goal of 60% of Texans between the ages of 25 and 34 having a degree by 2030. MCC focuses on increasing success and completion through mentoring, offering well-rounded support, and by tracking students through multiple success indicators. Targeted interventions in the form of individualized education plans, resources, and opportunities are provided to men of color as determined by their individual needs and interests.
The Black Male Initiative (BMI) launched at Medgar Evans College in 2005, and now has expanded to campuses across the CUNY system. Academic peer mentoring has been one of the most successful BMI strategies. BMI uses a “mentor-the-mentor approach,” in which high-performing upper-classmen in the program receive extensive training to serve as mentors to under-classmen. Mentees meet with their mentors multiple times throughout the semester to create an academic plan and track progress towards their goals.
At the CUNY Kingsborough campus, students have the option to participate in a single-credit student development course, as part of a small, 25 student cohort providing a more intimate college atmosphere. Participating students learn effective strategies for transitioning to college, exploring career options, and accessing campus resources.
For more information on the state of higher education for urban minority men in America, and for details about the programs at TCC and CUNY, check out the full report on our website.
1. See ACCT’s companion paper The rural male in higher education: How community colleges can improve educational and economic outcomes for rural men.