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Detroit-based nonprofit celebrates first Black male graduate, works toward graduating more

Detroit nonprofit acknowledges first Black males graduates
Detroit nonprofit acknowledges first Black males graduates 02:20

(CBS DETROIT) - A Detroit-based nonprofit is celebrating a milestone, its first Black male graduate, and it is hoping many more will soon follow.

Degree Forward is a nonprofit that partners with Southern New Hampshire University and career partners to offer online and in-person degree and certification opportunities. While more than 50% of the 200 Degree Forward students who started last year are on pace to graduate, only 17% are men, but the group's Black Male Achievement Initiative (BMAI) is working to address that concern.

"I'm not the classroom type," Koron Dorsett said. "I don't even want to deal with the classroom [or] the people."

BMAI aims to engage and support Black men like Dorsett and introduce them to the possibility of pursuing a degree, something Dorsett will finally have his hands on in just a few more weeks.

"Once I complete here, I will be the second in my family to even complete college," he said. "This whole thing is still unreal."

Dorsett said after graduating high school, he was presented with two options: go to school full-time or enter the labor force.

He chose the latter until later in life, encouraging his teenage son to continue his education prompted Dorsett to do the same. Now, they'll share in this achievement together.

"We'll be graduating, literally within weeks of each other, and that's major," he said.

Danielle North, who is Degree Forward's CEO and founder, explained the program as an accelerated, affordable, and achievable path to degree completion while increasing its number of Black male graduates and advancing the overall financial well-being of Black men in Detroit and neighboring cities.

"Men are really, really excited to have a space where they can freely and openly communicate some of [their] needs," she said. "[This is] an organization that's backing them and saying we are here as an ally."

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