College isn’t a guarantee to a better life, but depending on the studies, it can set people up to become successful and achieve their goals. For the Black community, it is pivotal for youth to surround themselves with like-minded individuals who can think past their current situations. At least that’s the view of one program.
The Black College Success (BCS) program is showing high school kids that there is more to the world than their current surroundings. The initiative is designed to cultivate strategic partnerships with key partners, universities and corporations in order to transition students to college; support their persistence to degree attainment; and prepare them for job readiness.
“My goal is to get as many Black kids in South L.A. into college as possible,” said Ibert Schultz, executive director of the Black College Success program. “We want to support them in their journey to college and into a high pay job or career once they graduate. I want to see our young folks succeed.”
Schultz has a decade of experience in the public and private sectors. Previously, he held senior roles at the Los Angeles City Council and Los Angeles Board of Supervisors, where he focused on a diversity of policy issues and strategic matters. He also worked at a fast-growing venture-backed Silicon Beach start-up.
“In the previous year, we were fortunate enough to help and provide laptops and scholarships for 150 students as they went off to college. I want to exceed that number for next year,” Schultz explained as he talked about future expectations. “I want to figure out how we can provide more services, better support, and get more kids into college. I have an incredible team, and we are working to build this up not only for next year, but for many years down the road.”
Before starting at BCS in July, Schultz worked with the Los Angeles City Council.
“During my time working with the county, we had supported the LA Promise Fund ventures with students K-12,” Schultz said. He took the position because he sees himself as a BCS kid and can relate to them on many levels.
Schultz is new to the position but wants parents and students not to focus on him, but the program.
“We should focus on the success of the children, by supporting them and helping them develop into role models for themselves, the community, and their peers.” Schultz said, acknowledging that he will need support from not only his board but from the parents and students, as the Black youth community he wants to cultivate can only be achieved if everybody involved is on the same page.
This includes potential partnerships with employers, corporations, and firms across health, bioscience, technology, and other industries to actively hire Black students for apprenticeship and internship opportunities.
Our Weekly coverage of local news in Los Angeles County is supported by the Ethnic Media Sustainability Initiative, a program created by California Black Media and Ethnic Media Services to support minority-owned-and-operated community newspapers across California.