Young men preparing to attend college or enter the workforce have a better chance to reach their academic and career goals thanks to a $500,000 financial investment from Colonial Life.
United Way of the Midlands announced its pilot program Young Men United (YMU). This new workforce development initiative in partnership with Colonial Life targets young men of color with mentorship, paid internships and professional engagement to help these men reach their education and career goals.
The $500,000 financial gift from Colonial Life helps United Way of the Midlands fund the YMU program to assist 20 young men of color attend Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other institutions of higher learning in the Midlands.
“YMU will positively impact many lives in the Midlands,” said Tim Arnold, President and CEO of Colonial Life. “We’re grateful for the opportunity to partner with the United Way of the Midlands on this important program and look forward to bringing this opportunity to the community.”
New to the Midlands, and starting this spring, YMU will reach junior and senior high school students. The program’s goal is to increase postsecondary education, retention and improve workforce development.
“YMU gives us another pathway to create generational change throughout the Midlands,” said Jabari Bodrick, Ph.D., Education & Resiliency Director for United Way of the Midlands. “We look forward to working with school districts throughout the Midlands to provide these young men with the critical support they need to build bright futures.”
YMU is modeled after the MKE Fellows Institute in Milwaukee, which began in 2012 as a college enrollment and internship program but has grown to a continuum of services to advance young men. Young Men United will offer this continuum with individualized student support through case management coaches to ensure the young men stay on track.
“Young Men United will ensure its participants are able to create pathways to educational completion, career exploration and development, and generational wealth building,” said Sara Fawcett, President & CEO of United Way.
United Way of the Midlands will operate the program that will grow to serve 200 total students over six years. Eau Claire and Richland Northeast are two high schools currently participating in YMU.
Participants will be paired with a professional mentor and join a summer internship for eight weeks. If you are interested in serving as a mentor or hosting an intern, contact Dr. Bodrick at email@example.com.
About United Way of the Midlands
United Way of the Midlands is the most collaborative, efficient and accountable model for investing in the improvement of the Midlands community. With nearly 70 Community Impact Partners, United Way works to identify and respond to the critical human service needs of Calhoun, Fairfield, Lexington, Newberry, Orangeburg and Richland counties. Funds are raised through workplace campaigns, grant writing and individual donations and are directed to creating generational change by breaking cycles of crisis and empowering people to build their own paths to success. For more information, please visit uway.org.
About Colonial Life
Colonial Life & Accident Insurance Company, a subsidiary of Unum Group, provides financial protection benefits to America’s workers and their families when the unexpected happens. The company offers workplace benefits, including disability, life, accident, dental, cancer, critical illness and hospital confinement indemnity insurance. Colonial Life’s benefit services, education and innovative enrollment technology supports over 87,000 businesses and 4 million workers. In 2022, Colonial Life paid more than $700 million in benefits to policyholders.
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