Continuing Progress: How Urban Community Colleges Are Improving Outcomes for Minority Men (2019)

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 this paper. This paper also pays attention to 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.

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This paper takes a deeper look at the economic and demographic state of urban America and the connections to postsecondary participation and attainment among minority men. The paper discusses several barriers to postsecondary access and completion faced by minority men and strategies to overcome these challenges. We also present profiles of initiatives to support minority men at Tarrant Community College in Fort Worth, TX and the City University of New York (CUNY). ACCT hopes that this paper will serve as a foundation for further discussions and greater inquiry into the attainment disparities among men in urban communities and what can be done to improve equity.