(Greensboro, NC) — Forge Greensboro teams up with Communities in Schools of Greater Greensboro (CIS) to introduce trade skills to young minds. This July, two groups of high school students will dive into a hands on learning experience in welding and machining at the Forge.

The young men are a part of the African American Male Initiative (AAMI), a program through CIS. They focus on mentoring young men in under-connected communities. Their time at the Forge is another step in the journey that prepares them for success and opportunities as an adult.

A total of 16 students will spend three days in July with trade professionals at the Forge. They will learn how to use the tools of the trade and the importance of applied math skills. “Many people are tactile learners. They need to see and feel the application of what and why they are learning a concept. Trade skills are a great vehicle to learn about math, geometry, and engineering while gaining a useful job skill,” says Joe Rotondi, Executive Director of the Forge.

“The community at large is more and more embracing the idea that everyone is not going to a four-year college immediately out of high school.  Some young men and young women may want to go immediately into the workforce and if that’s the case, they would be better positioned to succeed if they’ve had access to training in industries that offer a livable wage,” says Rashard Jones, CIS project director for AAMI.

 Recent studies confirm that the average child growing up in poverty stays within an 8 mile radius of their homes until they turn 13 years old. The challenge this creates is that the average textbook and standardized test are written from a middle class standpoint; it assumes that the children have gone through certain experiences but their limited exposure to their community and the world doesn’t make learning practical.

According to Mr. Jones, “A program such as the Forge will give our young men another real life experience outside of their community, an experience that will be stored in the memory bank and make what teachers talk about relevant to them.”

The Skills Pipeline at the Forge is funded by the Lincoln Financial Foundation. The program collaborates with the United Way to find partners, like CIS, who can link this resource to our community. Upon finishing the program, students are shown continued education opportunities at GTCC.

AAMI was launched by the United Way and CIS in August of 2011 as a multi-year pilot mentoring and enrichment program focused on serving disadvantaged African American and Latino boys.

This pilot became the African American Male Initiative (AAMI), which is an intensive, one- on- one mentoring program aimed at increasing the number of positive and caring adults into the lives of underprivileged youth.  Currently the AAMI serves approximately 100 boys at Wiley Elementary, Jackson Middle, and Smith High schools in partnership with Guilford County Schools under the program management of CIS.

 Contributions to Forge Greensboro can be made directly on the organization’s website, or mailed to the Forge Greensboro office located at 219 W. Lewis St, Greensboro, North Carolina 27406.

About Forge Greensboro

Forge Greensboro, a 501c3 nonprofit, is the largest community makerspace in the Southeast. The Forge provides members with equipment for woodworking, welding, sewing, 3D printing, laser engraving, 3D design, sheet metal, electronics and ceramics. The core program provides affordable access to tools, technology and a community of entrepreneurs, artists, artisans, inventors, students, skilled trades folk, engineers, hobbyists and tinkerers. Forge Greensboro is an open and accepting environment where people can come and share their skills, experience, ideas, networks and curiosity. For more information visit, www.forgegreensboro.org.

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