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Urban League College Fair Opens Minds and Opportunities

September 8, 2014

“Fantastic.” That’s how college junior Courtlyn Patrick of Palm Beach, Florida describes the Project Ready College Fair, part of the National Urban League’s national convention held recently in Cincinnati, Ohio.

“You get a chance to get exposed to schools you might never have a chance to know about otherwise,” says Patrick, who’s using the fair as part of her research on potential grad schools. “It really opens my mind.”

The college fair is a highlight of the National Urban League’s Youth Summit, which brings young people from NUL affiliates across the country together for meetings, workshops and other activities that run concurrently with the annual NUL national convention.

The Project Ready Career Fair features 60 plus colleges and universities. Youth participants have the opportunity to meet with admissions officers, financial aid representatives, scholarship and college access organizations.

This year FedEx Express Senior Vice President, Chief HR/Diversity Officer Shannon Brown did the honors of cutting the ribbon to open the fair, which was attended by approximately 400 junior and senior high school students.  During his remarks Brown said, “Many of you, like me, are African American. And I know firsthand how important education is. There are 318 million people in the United States*.  And 7 billion on the planet.  So we’re only 5 percent of the world’s population.  So your competition is somebody who’s not standing next to you.  And the key to success in this society is education.”

Hal Smith, Vice President of Education, Youth Development and Health for the National Urban League says the college fair fills a critical gap for many of the young participants.

“Unfortunately many of the students we see don’t have real high school counseling, so our affiliate staff have to operate that way.  This gives them a chance to work hand in hand with the representatives, and young people a chance really to see the range of higher-ed options – community college, 4-year college, the armed forces, certificate programs, all the things we think are important to move them, after high school, to success and career and work.  And we couldn’t do it without FedEx.”

 *US Census Bureau 

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