The FutureMakers Coalition has partnered with Florida Gulf Coast University to establish a local Student African American Brotherhood chapter.
More than a dozen advisory committee members and students recently attended a steering committee meeting held at FGCU.
The SAAB is a national organization founded by Dr. Tyrone Bledsoe in 1990 to address academic and social challenges of African-American male college students. The post-secondary program works with young men and boys to get them enrolled and graduated from college. Today, SAAB has grown to more than 300 student-run chapters in 28 states. Each chapter includes academic advising and mentorship to assist members in excelling academically, socially, culturally and professionally in the community.
“FGCU recognizes the challenges faced by first generation and low-income minority students,” said J. Webb Horton, assistant director of community outreach at FGCU and SAAB advisor. “As a region, we are working together with the FutureMakers Coalition to eliminate barriers to attainment because we know we need a better trained workforce to meet present and future employment demands, improve quality of life and support a more sustainable economy in Southwest Florida.”
The partnership was coordinated through the FutureMakers Coalition by Lumina Foundation, along with SAAB and FGCU. Southwest Florida is one of 75 Community Partnership for Attainment areas working alongside Lumina Foundation to increase post-secondary attainment nationwide while increasing the number of working-age adults with degrees and certifications. Lumina is providing free technical assistance in starting the SAAB chapter.
“We are looking at ways to enhance best practices across the region through collective impact efforts to address these challenges and promote equity in post-secondary access and attainment,” said Tessa LeSage, director of social innovation and sustainability for the Southwest Florida Community Foundation, the backbone organization for FutureMakers Coalition. “SAAB is a best practice because it focuses on increasing the number of African American and Latino men who graduate from college by creating a positive peer community based on a spirit of caring.”
The goal of the FutureMakers Coalition is to transform the workforce by increasing the number of Southwest Florida residents with degrees, certificates and other high-quality credentials to 40 percent by the year 2025.
The Southwest Florida Community Foundation serves as the anchor organization for the Coalition. The FutureMakers Coalition encourages residents to join and support this community-changing initiative. For more information, visit www.FutureMakersCoalition.com, call 239-274-5900 or email Tessa LeSage at [email protected]