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City needs to retain its college graduates

Graduates march toward Hughes Stadium for the 2019 Morgan State University commencement ceremony.
Graduates march toward Hughes Stadium for the 2019 Morgan State University commencement ceremony. (Barbara Haddock Taylor / Baltimore Sun)

As students across greater Baltimore, including those from the five University System of Maryland campuses in the region, celebrate commencements, the time is right to revisit a recent column by Dan Rodricks (“Reverse Baltimore’s population slide: Retain more college grads,” April 23).

While not referenced in that piece, the University System of Maryland has been on the front lines of this effort, most notably though our Baltimore Power — or B-Power — initiative. Spearheaded by the University of Baltimore in partnership with Coppin State University and others, B-Power seeks simultaneously to boost college and career readiness for Baltimore City students and to develop a new Baltimore-centric pathway from high school to a college degree.

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Today, with college readiness courses and dual enrollment programs being offered in over 20 middle and high schools across Baltimore, B-Power impacted more than 1,000 city students in 2018 alone and has grown throughout 2019. And we are building a much wider alliance with other USM institutions, non-profits, businesses, schools and education advocacy organizations. Most recently, B-Power work has resulted in the establishment of new National Honor Society chapters in Baltimore City Public Schools, the Finish For Free Program (yes, free four years of tuition) between BCCC and Coppin, and an agreement between UB and BCCC.

B-Power is a key part of USM’s significant commitment to Baltimore. Facilitating a future of educational opportunity for city students will ultimately empower those students to build a more prosperous — and more populous — future for Baltimore.

Dr. Joann Boughman, Adelphi

The writer is Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Student Affairs, University System of Maryland.

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