A report by the American Council on Education in 2000 found less than a quarter of Black men, aged 18 to 24, attend college. For the 75 percent who don't, Tommy Mitchell fears the odds are against them.
"If they don't graduate and go somewhere else after high school the statistics show that too many of them are in jail or unemployed or homeless," said Mitchell, the director of Black Male College Explorer's Program.
The program is giving 101 young black men from across Florida more positive alternatives. That includes showing them college is within their reach.
"I'm going to try to do my best to make sure that there are more black men in college," said participant Brian Hayes.
"McDonald's isn't even hiring kids who have a high school diploma so I always had in my mind to go to college and get a degree," said participant Jeremy Lewis.
For Mitchell higher education is the foundation to economic growth and a powerful community.
"When you look at the black community in terms of the lack of fathers in homes there is a need for African-American men to graduate from high school and college and go back to their community and begin to contribute," said Mitchell.
Mitchell hopes for these 101 young men the first step to college begins now.