St. Peters African Methodist Episcopal Church in partnership with AchieveMpls held the third annual Historically Black College and University (HBCU) College Fair.
Arnise Roberson, director of AchieveMpls Career and College Initiative, and member of St. Peters African Methodist Episcopal Church organized the college fair. The event was attended by more than 600 prospective students and parents.
A nonprofit partner of the Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS), AchieveMpls serves as a bridge between MPS and the broader community including businesses, foundations, nonprofits, government agencies and individuals providing information and opportunities to engage as funders, volunteers, employers, advocates and advisers.
More than 20 representatives from HBCUs were on hand for the fair.
Young people from Minneapolis and St. Paul attended the event, but Roberson said the biggest disappointment was the lack of attendance from the Minneapolis Public Schools.
“One of my suspicions is the event was held on a day off, therefore transportation was an issue. If we had transportation that may have yielded more students,” Roberson said. “In order to access MPS students, we need to work collectively with the agencies who work directly with students.”
Roberson acknowledged more outreach is needed to apprise area parents and students of educational opportunities via HBCUs.
“It’s an area not too much exposed here because we do not have any HBCUs in Minnesota and very few (recruiters) come here,” she said.
There are 105 HBCUs, mostly located in the eastern and southern region, consisting of public and private two-year and four-year institutions.
“One of outcomes from the fair was we started building relationships with representation from Johnson C. Smith (University) and Wiley (College). They have scholarship money to give and want to build a partnership,” Roberson said.
Roberson said the fair is unique for a couple of reasons.
“(The fair) consists only of historically black colleges, and not only do we have representation from the actual admission office, but it is staffed by alumni who are residents of the community,” said Roberson.