At times I often sit about on my front porch, in my car, or where ever I can a good thought. I think about the future of Americas youth. Especially our African American Youth, and young African American men to be more specific. I see neighborhoods being infested with drugs, and gangs with our young African American boys and men as the leaders and the targets of these so-called! SS businesses!" .

I angers me to think that one day out of all of the young African American men and young boys that I see everyday are more likely to go to jail than to go to college. As pointed out that African American males constitute more than 50% of the prison population and account for only 3. 5% of the total enrollment of U. S Colleges and Universities (Allen, Epps, & Hann it, 1991). Working in this field for almost 6 yr. as a child and adolescent mental health counselor, I have come across many African American young boys in treatment.

Actually, almost 75% of my caseload is African American boys and young men. In this field there are not enough of African American male therapist around to provide for them a sense of common ground. Therefore, I will attempt to address some of the issues that affect African American! |s and in particular will attempt to develop a career counseling program for African American men... Statistics The African American population is about 12. 3% of the U. S.

population (U. S. Bureau of the Census, 2001). Of the increase since 1980, 16% was due to immigration.

The poverty rate for African American remains nearly 3 times higher than that of Whit American (33. 0% versus 12. 2%), and the unemployment rate twice as high (11% versus 5%, U. S. Bureau of the Census, 1995). African Americans! | disadvantaged status, as well as racism and poverty, contribute to the following statistics.

About One third of African American men in their 20! |s are in jail, on probation, or in parole. This rate has increased by over one third during the past five years (Free berg, 1995). Over 20% of Black males are temporarily or permanently banned from voting in Texas, Florida, and Virginia because of felony convictions (Cose et al 2000). Although these statistics are grim, Ford (1997) pointed out that much of the literature is based in individuals of the lower social class who are on welfare or unemployed, and not enough is based on other segments of the African American population. This focus on one segment of African Americans masks the great diversity that exist among African Americans, who may be vary greatly from one another from factors of socioeconomic status, educational level, cultural identity, family structure and reaction to racism (Sue & Sue 2003). It is also pointed out that more than one third of African Americans are now middle-class or higher.

These individuals tend to be well educated, married homeowners. In 1989 one out of seven African American families had an income of $50, 000 or higher (Hildebrand, Phenice, Gray, & Hines, 1997). However, Sue & Sue also mentions that middle class African Americans are also exposed to feelings of guilt for having!" made it, !" frustrations by the limitations imposed by the! SS glass ceiling, !" and feelings of isolation. Often, upward mobility can produce unintentional effects.

Family Characteristics It is noted in Sue & Sue that increasingly larger percentages of African American families are headed by single parents. In 1994, 47% of all African American families involved married couples, as compared to 68% in 1970 and 56% in 1980 (U. S. Bureau of the Census, 1995. It is also mentioned that African American family has been generally described as matriarchal and is blamed for many of the problems faces by Black Americans today. Dr.

Merlin R. Langley a psychologist, wrote about conducting an African American men! |s support group in which this topic was discussed. As Dr. Langley mentions that during the a group discussion; the African American men in group described how the absence of their parents in general and their fathers in particular during their childhood and adolescence had negatively affected their identity.

The unavailability of their fathers as a function of consequences not choice negatively affected their self concepts and self esteem. For instance one group member with tears in his eyes and rage in his voice described hoe his father had emotionally neglected and abandoned him and as a result had failed to properly prepare him to cope with the challenges of life as a Black male in White America (2001). Dr. Langley goes on to mention that the above experience may not be unique to Black men. Nevertheless, the absence of a loving and strong Black family in general and Black father figure in particular is negatively affecting an increasing number of Black boys and girls. Resulting in many Black men and women as adults experiencing problems being able to form committed relationships, creating and maintaining stable families, and strong communities.

As mentioned, the self esteem and self concepts of African American men are affected. This could in turn result in the lack of motivation, and energy one may need to function in society. With this lack of motivation and energy one might lack interest in themselves and other things around them. They may be inclined to make other irrational, and possibly unlawful decisions that may result in them either getting fired from a job, in jail etc.

Therefore, studies show that there is a need for a career counseling program that could possibly attempt to address the social and career issues of our young African American men. I have attempted to develop a program that could address some of the prevalent career counseling issues of African American men. This program will be based on Krumboltz! |s Social Learning approach and the Social Cognitive theory as well. The program is Project A. A. I.

M. E. A. A. I. M.

E is an acronym for African American Initiative for Men! |s Employment. I have attempted to make an outline of the program and its purpose and goals. In developing this program, I researched information about what elements of an effective career counseling program for African American men would be of value to include in a program such as this. It is said noted that In order for African American males to succeed they must be respected, understood, and valued! KA bonding process must first take place, which results from love, respect, and understanding (Kunjufu, 1986).

This could also be known as a ritual. Dr. Langley also agrees that every significant event in South Africa begins with a ritual (story telling, song, music and dance) as a means for denoting that something or somebody is being transformed. Being changed. Being changed for the better. He goes on to mentions that Blacks in America should develop rites of passage programs for Black youth to instill a sense of connection to and responsibility for their family and community.

Therefore, as part of the AAIME program, a rites of passage will be put in place to acknowledge ones accomplishments in order to instill a sense of positive self concept and to motivate individuals to continue to strive toward their goals. It is also pointed out that the need for leadership and mentorship is very important in developing a successful program. Dr. Lee an African American psychologist describes these strategies as Empowerment strategies.

He mentions that these strategies should include competent Black male leaders. Needs Assessment It is said that need assessments are one of the most useful and effective means to help identify concerns and identification of issues and concerns because of the growing diversity of individuals, and their changing personal and career needs. Without needs assessments, decisions made on behalf of individuals may not accurately relate to their needs. And although there may be a common set of needs, these needs may shift with changes in age, experience and social trends (Gallgher, Go lim Kekkehers, 1992). A thorough assessment would need to be completed before the development of such a program to be better able to address relevant and important issues that the overall community expresses as being a problem.

Project A. A. I. M. E Mission Statement Empowering, and motivating African American men. To enhance social, and financial security, to build a community where African American men can maximize their personal growth and make a thorough and lasting contribution to the community and society.

Goals To provide quality career counseling services to African American men and young boys To educate, enhance career skills and provide guidance and support to individuals having issues with career concerns. Client Demographic Information Clients will be African American men and young boys ranging in the ages of 6-106. Clients will live in the Chicago Metropolitan area and will come from all socioeconomic backgrounds. Program Implementation Offers workshops, seminars, activities, events and learning opportunities for African American men and boys in four areas: Social Development, Leadership, Career/Vocational Enhancement, and Mentoring. Social Development fae Annual Induction Celebration and Dinner where new members are welcomed and inducted into the program. fae Field Trips to cultural events and social gatherings.

To take place weekly and /or monthly. fae Semi Annual Retreat team building activities to increase and maintain interest in participants fae Guest Speakers to address and discuss relevant issues the African American community fae Rites of Passage Ceremony and Awards to acknowledge achievements of members within the program. Leadership fae Internship opportunities through local regional and national venues and companies. fae Speaking opportunities for members at High schools, colleges etc.

to inform others about the program Career/Vocational Enhancement fae Provide needed assessments and career inventories to determine specific interest if needed. fae Weekly information sessions that inform members about up to date trends In the job market. fae Group discussion / counseling sharing ideas and communicating personal feelings and experiences about the careers and employment etc. fae Skills Seminars on resume writing, appropriate interviewing tips and ways to enhance communication skills.

fae Job shadowing- opportunity to experience the world of work and career situations through day and week long excursions on the job with industry professionals. fae Internships to develop and build skills through hands on practicum experience. fae Networking social gatherings to encourage communication with other professionals to facilitate relationship building. Mentoring fae Mentoring program contacts with seasoned members and other professionals that provide a sense of guidance and support. fae Outreach to reach out to new and interested potential members. This is just an overview of a project that could be considered for African American men and young boys.

Of course the younger children! |s and adolescent program will be set up in a similar fashion but activities will focus more on education and will include activities that are geared toward their age group and interests. Project AAIME! |s program structure is based off of the African American Men of Arizona State! |s Organizational Program. References Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2001.

Report: Employment Situation. Washington, D. C. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 2000. Report: Employment Situation.

Washington, D. C. Bureau of Labor Statistics. 1995. Report: Employment Situation. Washington, D.

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America! |s Prison Generation. Newsweek, 42-49. Ford, D. Y. , 1997.

Counseling Middle Class African Americans. Alexandria, VA: American Counseling Association. Free burg, L. 1995, October 5).

! of 3 Blacks in 20! |s has had trouble with the law. Seattle Post-Intelligencer, pp. A 1, A 8. Gallgher, Golem Kekkehers. 1992. Hildebrand, V.

, Phenice, A. , Gray, M. M. , & Hines, R.

P. 1997. Knowing and Serving Diverse Families. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice Hall. Kunjufu, J.

1990. Motivating and Preparing Black Youth for Success. African American Images. Kunjufu, J, 1986. Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys. 1 st ed.

African American Images. Langley, R. M. 2000.

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Multicultural issues in Counseling. 2 nd ed. Alexandria VA. American Counselor Association Press. Lee.

C. C. 1992. Empowering Young Black Males. Alexandria, VA. American Counselor Association Press.

Sue, D. W. & Sue, D. 2003 Counseling the Culturally Diverse: Theory and Practice. 4 th ed. New York: Wiley..