LINCROFT, NJ (Jan. 26, 2016) – Brookdale Community College and the Monmouth/Ocean County Pan Hellenic Council will host the second annual “Minority Male Initiative” conference on the college’s Lincroft campus at 9 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 19.

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.

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.

Pastor Semaj Y. Vanzant, lead pastor-teacher at Second Baptist Church in Asbury Park, will provide a keynote address.

The conference is open to local high school seniors and Brookdale students. Unique scholarship opportunities are available for eligible attendees. Pre-registration is required. High school students should contact their school’s guidance department to register and receive a scholarship application. Brookdale students should contact Fidel Wilson at

The conference will be held in Brookdale’s Warner Student Life Center, 765 Newman Springs Road, Lincroft. Parking is in Lots 6 and 7. Check-in begins at 8 a.m.

“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 Brookdale professor and a co-founder of the Male Minority Initiative. “But gaps still remain, both in the classroom and in the workforce.”

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,” Wilson added. “Our goal is to connect those students with professionals, teachers and community leaders who have overcome those challenges and who have found those answers.”