The following was published by Vermont Public.

The University of Vermont is launching a mentorship pilot program for Black and Latino male students.

The “Young Men of Talent” program aims to create networking and professional development opportunities for students of color in a effort to reverse a decline in college enrollment among Black and Latino men.

Jaydeen Santos is assistant director at The Mosaic Center for Students of Color at UVM.

“An issue for many years for us is that we don’t necessarily see as many men come into our center looking for support,” Santos says. “And a lot of the men also aren’t retained to UVM, and specifically for Black and Latino men. They just aren’t coming to ask for help when they need it, and then they either transfer out or just stop going to school altogether.”

Santos says participating students are interviewed to gauge interests, then matched with a career professional. A New York-based nonprofit called CFES will also help with resume writing and interview skills and provide emergency funding for textbooks and computers.

Santos says UVM is looking for more professional mentors and local businesses who can hire students for paid summer internships.