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SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON TO FUND COLLEGE SUPPORT PROGRAM FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN TEENS IN SOUTH-CENTRAL LOS ANGELES

 SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA EDISON TO FUND COLLEGE SUPPORT PROGRAM
 FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN TEENS IN SOUTH-CENTRAL LOS ANGELES
 ROSEMEAD, Calif., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- Southern California Edison is sponsoring an innovative program at Los Angeles Southwest College to inspire African-American teenagers to continue their education.
 The "Interscholastic Alliance of African-American Males (IAAM)" -- whose acronym is pronounced "I AM" -- will encompass 75 male teenagers from the Los Angeles Unified School District's Middle College High School and Washington and Inglewood high schools in South-Central Los Angeles. The program will being this September.
 "Corporate contributions are crucial to the success of programs that enhance education especially for minority students," said David Mertes, chancellor of the California Community Colleges. "It's an appropriate investment, considering that these students will be among the workers of the future."
 Southern California Edison's sponsorship of IAAM continues the company's commitment to supporting education programs for economically disadvantaged youth. The utility provides scholarships at 53 colleges in Southern California, and sponsors the "Yes I Can" program at El Camino College, which encourages at-risk middle school students to complete their high school and college educations.
 "Our company strongly believes that every youth should be given an opportunity to succeed in this world, and the IAAM program provides that opportunity," said Tani Welsh, manager of Educational Services.
 Southern California Edison's sponsorship of IAAM was arranged through the California Community Colleges Foundation (CCCF), which raises funds for special programs and projects of the state's 107 community colleges.
 "IAAM is a significant addition to our programs for minority students," said Jim Huyck, executive director of CCCF. "We're grateful to Southern California Edison for its continued support of the foundation."
 Students in the IAAM program, whose headquarters is on the L.A. Southwest College campus, will be given the opportunity to take college courses while completing high school graduation requirements.
 The Middle College High School, a collaborative project of the Los Angeles Unified School District and the Los Angeles Community College District, began in 1990 and graduated its first class in June. It was organized to help reduce the high school drop-out rate, provide educational opportunities for disadvantaged youths by allowing them to attend college classes and remove students from a gang-activity environment.
 Other organizations participating in the IAAM program are California State University Dominguez Hills, Upward Bound, the L.A. Southwest College EOPS and Transfer Center and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Partnership Program.
 Plans for IAAM were under way prior to the "Rebuild L.A." campaign, said Mertes. The goals of "Rebuild L.A.," led by Peter Ueberroth, are to revive business activity in riot-torn South Central Los Angeles and improve the economic situations of the families in the area.
 "The IAAM program addresses the future of South Central L.A.," Mertes said. "The students who will participate in our program represent the next generation of those families. We want to demonstrate that education is a stepping stone to a better life."
 Students chosen to participate in IAAM come from an area of extreme urban blight. They have had little or no exposure to cultural amenities, modern urban environments or well-maintained housing. Nearly 50 percent of the high school students in South Central Los Angeles drop out of school.
 "A young black male has at least three times the chance of being murdered as he does of graduating from high school with eligibility to enter the University of California," Mertes said.
 In addition to receiving the educational assistance provided through IAAM, students will be offered career counseling services and will be assigned a mentor from the business community. Students also will be offered career-related internships and have opportunities to attend community events and conferences that focus on African- American issues.
 The program will operate on the buddy system to further strengthen the students' resolve to complete their high school educations.
 "We are very excited about the potential for the IAAM program," Mertes said. "We hope to provide these young men with the skills, initiative and motivation to pursue a college education."
 -0- 10/14/92
 /CONTACT: Paul Klein of Southern California Edison, 818-302-2255/ CO: Southern California Edison; Los Angeles Southwest College ST: California IN: UTI SU:


JB-BP -- LA030 -- 9994 10/14/92 15:02 EDT
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Date:Oct 14, 1992
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