The mission of the Unlocking Potential Leaders’ Insight For Tomorrow (UPLIFT) program is to provide a corridor to academic and career excellence for men of color students through discipline and focus on the tasks that lie ahead.
UPLIFT, through a holistic approach, will empower, educate, provide leadership, and motivate male students of color through active engagement by promoting an inclusive, supportive, and welcoming environment. This process will increase student’s success rate and generate a culture of high achievement and high expectation for men of color.
There has been national attention focused on men of color. Research has shown that male students of color particularly African American and Latino males are completing college at a much lower rate than their white peers. As part of Norwalk Community College’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, the college launched a Men of Color Initiative in February 2021 called UPLIFT. The program is designed to empower, inform, and encourage men of color to reach their highest academic potential. Although the formal program has been up and running since 2021, the UPLIFT concept and practice has been in place for 13 years thanks to our founders Alfred Thomas, Jr., and Curtis Antrum.
The UPLIFT program at Norwalk Community College (NCC) is designed to recruit, retain, and graduate men of color. Uplift provides academic support and guidance to help students improve their academic performance and self-confidence. NCC UPLIFT will maximize the participants involvement by building their tool-kit needed to plan, prepare and excel in class at NCC.
One-on-one Academic Mentoring & Coaching
NCC UPLIFT is committed to your success. UPLIFT students will meet with the Program Coordinator and Coaches on a regular basis to work individually on identifying weak areas of performance and develop strategies for success. The UPLIFT team will assist the student in creating steps to success. These steps will include:
- Understanding your workload
- Realistically challenging yourself with schedules
- Improving communication with faculty
- Accept constructive criticism and recommendations
- Mastering Research
- Providing referrals to campus services
Paid on campus internship opportunities up to 10 hours a week are available for interested students.
Students will have the opportunity to learn valuable work experience in various areas of the college.
The practical applications to what will be learned in NCC UPLIFT program are:
- Students will have a greater understanding of their strengths and weaknesses
- Students will build on their tool-kit to tackle those challenges that confront them
- Students will have access to the UPLIFT staff and mentors to bounce their ideas off of as they pursue their passion
- Students will have the confidentiality of the UPLIFT staff to discuss matters related to their college experience and beyond.
- Students will be empowered to chart their course of study
Referrals to On Campus Resources
NCC UPLIFT staff will ensure students will be properly referred to different campus agencies to provide:
- academic resources
- scholarship opportunities or stipends
- avenues to address fairness and equity in the classroom
- prep for work-life experience
- academic support for students
The NCC UPLIFT mentoring program understands that men of color benefit from having mentors and role models who can identify with the challenges associated with college study. NCC UPLIFT has focused its attention on finding qualified mentors who have success stories to share with our students and are dedicated to supporting members of UPLIFT in pursuit of achieving excellence in their college experience. These mentors, who are experts in their field of study are following and tracking those assigned to them to develop good habits and avoid pitfalls. When a mentor has a similar background or experience as the mentee, cultural trust can be established to have an effective mentoring relationship. The Mentoring program pairs students with professionals and alumni to help students with their educational and career goals.
UPLIFT Talks/Workshop Sessions
What is an UPLIFT college workshop at NCC?
NCC UPLIFT Workshops and talks usually include guest speakers who are Professors, Staff, Industry Giants and UPLIFT staff members introducing themes and concepts. These master craftsmen and women with a tremendous skillset have keen insight on related topics of discussion. The workshops may be designed to have students experience hands-on learning in addition to discussions and formal presentations. Rigorous debate may occur on a given topic to inspire greater thought and learning.
The UPLIFT program will offer a variety of virtual and in person workshops to expose students to the necessary skills needed to succeed.