HBCUs: Identity Crisis

What’s Going On?

According to Marcus Neal, founder and CEO of HoM,where the mission is to create the next creators, innovators and entrepreneurs.  He discusses in Forbes Magazine the issues that are attributing to the stigma of growth within the HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities).  For instance, the African American alumni are considered to be the working middle class for blacks; however, the pay is not as generous and equates to less money being invested into the HBCUs building fund.

In contrast, the Ivy league schools alumni, which are able to invest into their colleges more effectively to give their students the tools necessary for a quality learning environment.  He focuses on 4 key solutions that will potentially drive the graduation rate up and produce more professionals in the working class.

“Go-to Market” Strategyhbcu

Adopt Project Based Learning (PBL) . Research shows that PBL is the best pedagogical approach to to engage students of color. PBL connects students and institutions with communities and the real world. It gives students the opportunity to leverage technology to solve real problems and addressing real issues.

  1. Invest in Entrepreneurship Curriculum.Nearly 75% of students graduating high school say that they are interested in starting a company or working for a startup. HBCUs can leverage this as a training ground for the next generation of innovators of color. Developing curriculum for both entrepreneurs and potential venture investors. This will help diversify the entrepreneurial ecosystem and allow students to show their skillsets through applied learning.
  2. Build a pipeline to Social Innovation.At the heart of HBCUs is community. There is great opportunity for students to use classroom learning to solve real world problems to potentially impact the world at scale. Partnerships with organization such as Camelback VenturesEchoing GreenGlobal Good FundAshokaBill and Melinda Gates Foundation, and Clinton Global Initiative to build a pipeline of talent for the social innovation space.
  3. Integrate STE(A)M. Deeper in investments in science, technology, engineering, math with integrated  art. STEAM fields are critical when it comes to driving innovation. There are roughly 2.4 million unfilled STEAM jobs in the most influential companies, this number is only growing. Nationally, only 10% of college students are landing STEAM jobs upon graduation.
  4. Teach Economic Empowerment.  Knowledge alone isn’t enough to escape the racial wealth gap. Investments  in creating  and growing financial sustainability is critical.  This will help mitigate the financial pressures and position students and alumni to contribute to endowments, and create generational wealth. A deep investment here is mutually benefiting to the community at large.

 

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