Fidel MMI conference BCCBrookdale Community College faculty member Fidel Wilson speaks at the 2015 Minority Male Initiative workshop. Registration is now open for this year’s conference, which returns to campus for its second annual edition on Friday, February 19.

Press release from Bookdale Community College

“Each year, more and more males of color are enrolling in college with the goal of earning a degree and starting a rewarding career,” said Fidel Wilson, assistant professor at Brookdale Community College. “But gaps still remain, both in the classroom and in the workforce.”

On Friday, February 19,  BCC and the Monmouth/Ocean County Pan Hellenic Council will host the second annual “Minority Male Initiative” conference on the college’s Lincroft campus.

Hosted inside the Warner Student Life Center building, the free conference, titled “Finding a Career That Suits You,” will offer career-oriented workshops designed specifically for local high school seniors and current Brookdale students. It is co-sponsored by Meridian Health and Brookdale’s Educational Opportunity Fund program. The conference is open to local high school seniors and Brookdale students, and unique scholarship opportunities are available for eligible attendees.

According to a 2012 report by the National Center for Education Statistics, only 34 percent of black males who enrolled as full-time college students earned a bachelor’s degree within six years, as opposed to 59 percent of white males. According to a May 2014 study by the Cen­ter for Eco­nom­ic and Policy Re­search, 12.4 percent of black college graduates age 22 to 27 were unemployed, more than double the rate for all college graduates in the same age group.

“Black and Hispanic students face unique challenges and have unique questions that they need answers to,” added Wilson, a co-founder of the Minority Male Initiative. “Our goal is to connect those students with professionals, teachers and community leaders who have overcome those challenges and who have found those answers.”

Pastor Semaj Y. Vanzant, lead pastor-teacher at Second Baptist Church in Asbury Park, will provide a keynote address for the event that begins at 9 am. Students are invited to network with area professionals and learn about specific jobs offered in four separate career clusters: STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics); health care and health science; business and social science; and communications media. Workshop leaders will also provide guidance on the educational pathways that lead to those careers.

Parking for the February 19 event is in Lots 6 and 7, and check-in begins at 8 am. Pre-registration is required. High school students should contact their school’s guidance department to register and receive a scholarship application, while Brookdale students should contact Fidel Wilson at