Southwest Tennessee Community College's Project M.O.S.T. Program Gets $3 Million in a Second Round of Funding from the U.S. Dept. of Education

For more information, contact:
Brenda J. Rayner

The U.S. Department of Education Predominantly Black Institution (PBI) Competitive Grant Program has awarded Southwest Tennessee Community College's Project M.O.S.T (Men of Southwest Tennessee) Program $3 million for the FY2015-FY2020 second-round funding cycle. The purpose of the PBI Grant (opens new window) is to strengthen PBIs to carry out programs in the areas of science, technology, engineering, or mathematics (STEM); health education; globalization; teacher preparation; or improving educational outcomes of African-American males.

"Project M.O.S.T. is successful because it skillfully blends several best-practice retention initiatives into one program. The grant will allow us to continue to increase the African American male retention rate, which, in turn, can lead to better educational and economic opportunities for the participants and their families," said Southwest President Dr. Tracy. D. Hall.

During the first round of finding, Project M.O.S.T. aided in enhancing participants' fall-to-fall retention numbers over the four-year period from fall 2012 - fall 2015 − revealing a retention rate of 76.9 percent, exceeding the projected goal of 70 percent.

Grant Director Kariem-Abdul Salaam attributes the success of the program to a "no quit" mindset stating, "Project M.O.S.T. has been successful because of a group of brave young African-American male students who refused to succumb to the negative stereotypes and predictions of failure around them. They have learned and embraced a psychological trait called GRIT and are exemplifying a "no quit" mindset with graduation and success as their goal."

Under the terms of the new grant award, Project M.O.S.T. will implement the Transition to Success (TTS™) holistic model, developed by Dr. Marcella Wilson, of Sharp Grossmont Hospital in San Diego, CA, which disrupts the cycle of poverty across all demographics to attain health, economic self-sufficiency, and personal success. It will also target and support African-American males who indicate interests in pursuing careers in the fields of education and allied healthcare.

For more information about Project M.O.S.T., contact Kariem-Abdul Salaam.