“You can’t go anywhere if you don’t have skills, and you can’t build skills if you don’t learn. And you’re not going anywhere without a network — so start building that social capital today,” that was the message loud and clear to DPS students Wednesday at the Black Male Initiative, brought forth by keynote speaker, Andy Seth.
More than 100 young African-American men attended the event, which focused on getting critical college resources and career guidance in the hands of students. Several community leaders and employers participated and students were given the opportunity to meet with them to learn more about their industries and further explore job opportunities. While college enrollment numbers are on the rise for the district, gaps in college and career opportunities remain for our African-American students. Now, educators are joining forces with the community to make sure all students have equal access to role models that can provide insight into the many different career opportunities that await them after graduation.
Seth is well versed in what it takes to rise above obstacles. An award-winning successful business leader with humble beginnings, he started his first business at 13-years-old, has deejayed in major cities, owned several companies and now trains young apprentices at his digital marketing agency, Flow.
His direct personality and life lessons were particularly relatable to students — and relevant to where these 11th and 12th graders are currently, as they face life-changing decisions on what comes next after high school. “Education is the formal term for ‘learn something useful’ — learning something you will be able to use in your life. Being here today is the dopest thing you can be doing,” said Seth.
Fortunately, students are feeling a sense of preparedness and guidance as counseling teams and educators across the district are having deeper conversations with them on college and career plans.
After speakers addressed the young men, direct coaching was provided for professionalism, career goal setting and financial literacy – all led by community partner volunteers. The students engaged with local employers who need talented individuals to fulfill roles, and now some of the young men will be employed with these community partners over the summer, getting them that much closer to their goals.
It’s another way DPS is working toward getting every student prepared for college and career under the Denver Plan 2020, and reaching those with the highest need.
One of our higher education partners, Community College of Denver, awarded 15 scholarships to seniors with a value of $500 each. A barrier many students face today in securing a job is transportation. To help bridge that gap, Denver Office of Children’s Affairs awarded pre-loaded RTD passes to many of the young men.
Thank you to our incredible community partners and educators for the work planning this event. The district will also be hosting the African-American Young Ladies Summit May 18 at George Washington High School. For more information on college and career opportunities for students, visit collegeandcareer.dpsk12.org.