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Men’s Success Initiative shows progress

The initiative began in 2010 and focuses on graduating minority males.

Senior+healthcare+administration+major+Jon+DeLeon+walks+to+class+among+a+sea+of+female+students+near+Brotman+Hall+on+November+4.+The+Student+Life+and+Development+Office+organized+the+Men%E2%80%99s+Success+Initiative+in+fall+2010+to+encourage+more+minority+males+to+enroll+in+college.
Senior healthcare administration major Jon DeLeon walks to class among a sea of female students near Brotman Hall on November 4. The Student Life and Development Office organized the Men’s Success Initiative in fall 2010 to encourage more minority males to enroll in college.

Senior healthcare administration major Jon DeLeon walks to class among a sea of female students near Brotman Hall on November 4. The Student Life and Development Office organized the Men’s Success Initiative in fall 2010 to encourage more minority males to enroll in college.

Todd Johnson / Daily 49er

Todd Johnson / Daily 49er

Senior healthcare administration major Jon DeLeon walks to class among a sea of female students near Brotman Hall on November 4. The Student Life and Development Office organized the Men’s Success Initiative in fall 2010 to encourage more minority males to enroll in college.

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With one semester left until graduating its first class, organizers of the Men’s Success Initiative on campus say they’re content with the progress they have seen.

I believe it’s working because the students are coming to meetings and are getting engaged,” said Matt Cabrera, coordinator for the Student Life and Development (SLD) Office and a coordinator for the Men’s Success Initiative.

The SLD Office organized the Men’s Success Initiative in fall 2010 to encourage more minority males to enroll in college and support them through graduation, Cabrera said.

“Across the board, national statistics show that male students of color who are enrolled in college are not graduating at the same rates as their female counterparts and their counterparts of other ethnicities,” Cabrera said. “We have a group of students that, statistically, are not going to graduate in time.”

The initiative focuses on men of black and Latino origin and provides support through a number of methods, including weekly “contact sessions” that are held in the Career Development Center, the Learning Assistance Center and the University Center for Undergraduate Advising.

Figures provided by Terri Carbaugh, associate vice president of legislative and external relations for CSULB, showed that in fall 2008, 10.4 percent of males at CSULB were Latino compared to 17.6 percent females. The figures also showed that in fall 2012, this number rose to 13 percent Latino males and 20.4 percent females.

Cabrera said, however, that there are no definite figures to confirm the initiative is having an impact on graduation rates.

“[The initiative] only started four years ago, so the first students involved haven’t graduated yet,” Cabrera said. “They’ll be graduating either this year or next year.”

The weekly contact sessions, which Cabrera said provide students with a laid back environment, include talks on scholarships, academic advice and even where it is best to get their haircut.

The Men’s Success Initiative is funded by the Student Excellence Fund and a Student Learning Outcomes grant. Cabrera said that the amount of funding varies from year to year.

Cabrera said a main reason minority men fail to graduate is because they don’t know what campus resources are available to them or where these resources can be accessed. He said he feels that the Men’s Success Initiative has directly addressed this issue.

“It’s pretty positive,” Cabrera said. “The main thing is to make sure that they connect with as many resource and support services as they can on campus so they know where to go when they find themselves struggling with their courses. The initiative is helping the students with navigation to and around the campus.”

During the initiative’s first year 224 contact sessions were held; however, last year the number grew to more than 1,200 contact sessions, Cabrera said.

Freshman aerospace engineering major Blake Jones said he thinks that work opportunities could be responsible for the lower number of men in college.

“I feel like there are more jobs outside of higher education for guys,” he said. “You can just go into the labor force and get hardworking jobs, but there’s not as many well-paid jobs that you don’t need an education for a girl.”

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