Henry Carter is the Director of the AIM Program; the Atlanta Technical College Institute for Males, at Atlanta Technical College. The Institute for Males is a postsecondary preparation program for boys and men of color with the purpose of helping our young men.
When was the program established and what is its purpose?
We were established in 2009 with funding from the U.S. Department of Education under a section called the predominately black institution. The purpose of the program is to engage more boys and young men of color in going into postsecondary education to get marketable skills; where they can go out into the world to work and provide for themselves and their family.
With what type of black males do you engage?
At Atlanta Area Tech, we deal with two distinct populations. We deal with a high school population, and these are young men are in the tenth through twelfth grades. And we deal with an adult male population.
How do you assist the high school population?
With the high school population, we do weekly leadership clubs in the area high schools and then we do a monthly event called Saturday academy where we convene these young men together to focus on leadership development, entrepreneurship, and career and college preparation. During the summer we have a program called the Summer Leadership Camp that’s a four week camp that reinforces what was learned in the weekly and monthly meetings. But we allow them to be exposed to college tours and stakeholders in the community. For example, former U.N. Ambassador Andrew Young, Doug Hooker, and Greg Baranco are just a few of the individuals who have engaged with these young men. This way, they are taught skills that increase graduation rates and retention levels in schools and make for better employees.
What about adult males?
With the adult male, we have men who have been downsized, right sized and no sized at all. We want to help them to reinvent and re-brand themselves. We have men who have just been released from the prison system. We hope to reduce recidivism by helping them to focus on their skills.
We have single fathers who come in; who want to be providers, or those who need skills so they can get a job to pay child support. And we have men who are coming in for the very first time and realize that things are changing and they need to have the skill set to change with the times.
How successful has the program been over the years?
The program has been tremendously successful. On an annual basis we serve about 600 boys and men of color. Since the program’s inception, we have served about 3,200 men in the community. According to the mandate for funding by the U.S. Department of Education, we must serve 200 people a year. We have not only met that standard, but have exceeded it every year. So for Atlanta Area Tech, it is not all about the money; we want to serve the community.
How do you sign up?
The criteria is that they be 16 years or older. There is no cost for the services but for the summer program there is a $25 cost.
The real mission is to make sure they are well dressed, well spoken, well balanced, renaissance men who are able to engage in the workforce.
To find out more about the program please visist the AIM Website: AIM WEBSITE