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FRESNO: T-Mobile funds Central Valley multi-media broadcasters and internship program $260,000 for two years

KOFP Radio managed by non-profit, the H.O.P.E. organization, is collaborating with the Fresno County District Attorney's office, the Fresno State Math Department, Vision View and ONME News, giving students a different experience to express their voice via radio, TV and digital media


By ONME Newswire

FRESNO, Calif.—After the pandemic, studies show that Black students across California suffered great loss in learning by attempting to study from a distance; whether it be from the lack of technology or the lack of know-how, it has become evident how much California’s school systems are still trying to find solutions to lure students back to the business of learning and to understand the value of education related to career fields.


     However, terrestrial, Central California community radio station, KOFP-LPFM Radio “The Voice” 103.3 FM, managed by organization, Helping Others Pursue Excellence (H.O.P.E.), has taken a different “hands-on” approach to attract students ages 12-20 to the business of learning again through a collaborative, creative, career-tech approach.

     “We are bringing the community together for a greater cause,” said H.O.PE. CEO, Lynisha Senegal and Vision View Campus director.  “The whole purpose of the Vision View business hub is to bring up the next generation of young, Black, entrepreneurs and professional workers who will lead the workforce or be business owners contributing to society and beyond.”

 

     Through The KOFP Radio Media & Community Collaboration Project, which is a combined effort of Black media entities, local colleges, corporations, community leaders, local government entities, educators and community organizations who have come together for a common cause, the Fresno-based radio station is striving to create a strong legacy for the next generation while keeping the community informed.  In this project, the media is the conduit to bring all the elements together because the project is centered around providing career opportunities for local Black youth and young adults, ages 12 – 20.   

     The KOFP Radio Media & Community Collaboration Project is centering on key career areas that are lacking Black workers and or skill sets:  STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics), public advocacy, and media.

 

     Thanks to corporate funding partner T-Mobile, education liaison partner; the CSU, Fresno Math Department; local government support in legal public advocacy, District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp, media partners with KOFP Radio, ONME News, they, too, saw the bigger vision of what it means to encourage Black students to excel in STEM majors, media and specific areas of public advocacy—the legal system and political science.

     Corporate funding partner, T-Mobile, is supporting The KOFP Radio Media & Community Collaboration Project for two years with $260,000.00 in grant funds awarded this spring; they also intend to continue with an ongoing Black media project, similar to the programs they have funded locally for the Asian and Hispanic communities. 

 


Why The KOFP Radio Media & Community Collaboration Project is needed for Black students pursuing media and general public advocacy:

 

     Local, ethnic media is the number one form of communication of news and information to the community and beyond; most of the time members of the Black community are looking to hear trusted news and information from people who look like them.  The mainstream, legacy media often leaves out the cultural nuances in their reporting, which they are not familiar with or keep the news fairly negative about Black people, according to a Pew Research news article:

     Black Americans are far more likely to view news coverage of Black people in a negative rather than positive light:

  • Almost two-thirds of Black adults (63%) say news about Black people is often more negative than news about other racial and ethnic groups; 28% say it is about equal and 7% say it is often more positive.

  • 57% say the news only covers certain segments of Black communities, compared with just 9% who say it covers a wide variety of Black people.

  • Half say coverage is often missing important information, while only 9% say it often reports the full story.

  • 43% say the coverage largely stereotypes Black people, far higher than the 11% who say it largely does not stereotype. An additional 43% say both of these things happen about equally.



    Julia Ann Dudley Najieb, KOFP Radio general manager and executive news producer for ONME News who has over 25 years as a journalist, and 15 years as an English and IB instructor, said the media will be an integral piece to this project, bringing the community collaboration under one umbrella.

     “Members of the Black community deserve to have a voice,” said Dudley Najieb.  “They just want to know what the best way is to be heard, and how should they express it where change actually happens; that’s why it is so important to give our youth and young adults hands-on learning and training early on for the experience and understanding of processes.” 

     Dudley Najieb who has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism, minor in French, minor in marketing, California Clear Teaching Credential in English and a number of other certifications and professional degrees also taught secondary education for 15 years while building her media companies.  She has always been a strong proponent of the importance of career-based education for students. 


KOFP Radio broadcaster's program begins this summer with an orientation starting, Thursday, June 27 for middle school and high school students applying and in September for college students applying for the program. Students can still sign up here before the deadline.

 

Why The KOFP Radio Media & Community Collaboration Project is needed for Black students pursuing STEM majors and careers:

     In the K-12 school system, data shows the performance of Black students is particularly concerning; in 2021–22, only 15.9 percent of students met or exceeded state standards in math (a decline of 4.62 pps), and 30.3 percent met or exceeded them in ELA (a 2.86-pp decline), according to research by  Heather J. Hough, and Belen Chavez of Policy Analysis for California Education, Stanford University.

     Data from California State University’s (CSU) Graduation & Success Dashboards  that currently only shows up to the year 2019, displays graduation and continuation rates of for successive, full-time, first time, freshmen, Black students entering the fall term in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) major across all CSU campuses.  Between the four years of 2016 to 2019, out of those average 568 Black STEM students, on average 7.87% of them graduated—that’s on average 44 Black students across all CSU campuses, compared to an average 18,122+ non-Black STEM students where an average 21.2% of them graduated in four years (3,842 students.)

 

          Community advocates and Black professional mathematicians and educators Chris Finley and Lennice Najieb approached the CSU, Fresno Math Department because they, too, were overly alarmed at the overwhelming statistic of Black students unaware of the lucrative career opportunities in STEM fields.

     “In the classroom, I see it,” said math and physics instructor, Chris Finley, who has a master’s degree in math education from Fresno Pacific University, a Bachelor of Science degree in mechanical engineering from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo and a California Single Subject Clear Teaching Credential in Single Subject Mathematics.  He has been teaching in secondary education and college-ready courses for over 27 years.    

     “Traditional methods of teaching have failed to produce the results that are necessary to bridge the gap for students of color in STEM fields,” said Finley. “The pandemic opened the eyes for many to see that innovative interventions are necessary and needed to tap into the potential of Black youth.”

 

     CSU, Fresno alumnus, Lennice Najieb, took a proactive stance several years ago, and reached out to the CSU, Fresno math department, who was also consistent with his same sentiment:  how do we reach the Black students in high school or much earlier to get them interested in the math and sciences?

     Najieb, who has a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics, with an emphasis in statistics and probability from CSU, Fresno, a California Clear Credential in Single-Subject Mathematics and CLAD, and a master’s in cross-cultural education said the biggest challenge for Black students entering math is that they do not have role models.

     “I would like to be that role model to upcoming African-American students so they can understand the universal language of mathematics,” said Najieb.

 

     From the alarming data all together, CSU, Fresno was desperately looking for a better way to outreach and attract Black students to join STEM majors.

            “Black students continue to be underrepresented in mathematical sciences and STEM fields in general,” explained Dr. Carmen Caprau, CSU, Fresno Department Chair of Mathematics, “relative to their representation in the overall population. This underrepresentation is not due to lack of ability or interest but rather to developing a low sense of belonging to the field.”

     “Like women, racial and ethnic minorities are missing the role models their peers have in STEM education and professions. In addition, a lack of effective support for people from diverse demographics limits many from entering these lucrative fields. We need to cultivate talent and promote the full inclusion of people from all backgrounds, so that we do not miss their perspectives, talents, contributions and experiences. Studies have shown that a more racially, ethnically and gender diverse team benefits creativity, innovation, brings better results and is more likely to outperform a less diverse team.”

      

Why The KOFP Radio Media & Community Collaboration Project is needed for Black students pursuing public advocacy careers in the legal profession:

     Regarding the topic of public advocacy, it is a broad area that includes key professions from health, politics, education as well as the legal system. The skillset to be successful in these areas is lacking in the Black community, especially among Black people and youth.   One could assume that speaking up for one’s self by marching for change and chanting at protests are a great part of public advocacy.  On the contrary, laws are made or changed and bills are passed through legislation.  But without specified skills sets in public advocacy, frustration can build and manifest into something counterproductive. 

     According to Reuters news article, a recent American Bar Association study found that the legal profession in America has remained overwhelmingly white and male over the last decade and that racial diversity among lawyers has actually regressed in some respects. The percentage of Black attorneys has receded slightly since 2011 going from 4.8% of the profession to 4.7% in 2021. Those numbers are much lower than the 13% of Americans who are Black.

     The news article reflected on three professionals in the legal system who stressed that law school and firm culture are often plain unwelcoming to people of color. They also emphasized that the decline is underlaid by socio-economic racial inequities preceding law school, including in K-12 education.

 

     Fresno District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp commented that the more that young people of color are exposed to opportunities in legal public advocacy and the legal profession in general while in high school, middle school or younger, the more diverse these professions will naturally become, representing all segments of the community in the coming future.

     “Our youth are our future,” said Fresno District Attorney Lisa Smittcamp.  “They are our future leaders, educators, prosecutors, and scientists.  Sadly, we have seen a steady decline in students pursuing higher education once they’ve completed high school.”

     “With respect to the work we do at the District Attorney’s Office, law school applications are in decline, and similarly we have seen fewer individuals pursuing a career in public sector law. 

     “Our office is committed to working with the community to encourage our youth, especially young people of color to further their academic studies, so that they are able to pursue careers at the highest levels of their chosen profession.”

 

The KOFP Radio Media & Community Collaboration Project intends to guide students from middle school through high school, exposing them to various underrepresented areas, with a deeper understanding of the opportunities available, as well as a way to enhance skill sets in these areas.  For more information for youth and young adults who would like to apply for this program, please visit the website here.

 

 

About T-Mobile

     T-Mobile U.S. Inc. (NASDAQ: TMUS) is America’s supercharged Un-carrier, delivering an advanced 4G LTE and transformative nationwide 5G network that will offer reliable connectivity for all. T-Mobile’s customers benefit from its unmatched combination of value and quality, unwavering obsession with offering them the best possible service experience and undisputable drive for disruption that creates competition and innovation in wireless and beyond. Based in Bellevue, Wash., T-Mobile provides services through its subsidiaries and operates its flagship brands, T-Mobile and Metro by T-Mobile. For more information please visit: http://www.t-mobile.com

 

 

About H.O.P.E.

     Founded in 2012, Helping Others Pursue Excellence (H.O.P.E.) is one of the largest minority-led nonprofit vocational training and business development centers, and the first business hub in the Central Valley. Through their business campus, “Vision View,” they have created an ecosystem of essential financial tools and co-working space to improve the upward economic mobility for low-income residents.

 

 

About KOFP-LPFM Radio “The Voice”

     Managed by 501C3 non-profit, Helping Others Pursue Excellence (H.O.P.E.), KOFP-LPFM Radio “The Voice,” 103.3 FM is the Black voice and expression of the Valley, providing all sounds of music, educational programming to news talk and inspirational talk.  Deejays are inspired to bring community, hip hop, R&B, reggae with an educational twist. 

     It was April 14, 2015, when KOFP-LPFM Radio “The Voice,” 103.3 FM began broadcasting, originally managed under the Idefua Foundation for African Arts and Culture by founder and CEO, the late Patrick Okoegwale.  Mr. Okoegwale wanted to bring more awareness to the African American community. He saw it as a way to give African Americans better representation and a voice in the community.

     KOFP-LPFM Radio “The Voice,” 103.3 FM, broadcasts on the terrestrial radio airwaves, 103.3 FM throughout Fresno. Calif., online at www.kofpradio.com and on-demand through third-party audio podcast providers. The KOFP Radio original programing and shows are rebroadcast on the ONME Network.

 

About the Fresno County District Attorney’s Office

     The Fresno County District Attorney's Office is one of the largest prosecuting agencies in California and consists of approximately 300 employees including skilled prosecutors, investigators and support personnel who handle more than 50,000 criminal cases a year in the County of Fresno.

     The mission of the Fresno County District Attorney's Office is to pursue justice and improve public safety for the people by ethically and aggressively prosecuting those who commit crimes. We develop innovative and collaborative solutions for the county while protecting the rights of victims and witnesses. We also work with community partners, focusing on keeping our children in school and preventing crime in our community.

 

About The ONME Network and ONME News

     Since 2012, The ONME Network, (One New Media Expression) has produced and featured original news and information and community-based programming from throughout California Black communities via video vodcast and audio podcasts.  The news and community content are broadcast to PEG access TV stations statewide, Roku and Amazon Fire OTT channels, and to Black Headline News FAST Channel.

     Viewers can also watch California-based, 24/7, linear programming online through the ONME News digital news website.  They can also read about relevant California-based news stories that have shareable social media and email links.

 

About the Fresno State Department of Mathematics

     With a commitment to the highest standards of teaching, the Department of Mathematics serves the University and the community by providing mathematics education to mathematics, science, engineering, and liberal studies majors, as well as general education mathematics courses for all majors. In pursuit of its educational mission, the department offers subject requirements for a California Secondary Teaching Credential in Mathematics; Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, with options in Applied Mathematics, General Mathematics, Pure Mathematics, Statistics, and Teaching, and Integrated Credential; and Master of Science in Mathematics.

 

For media inquiries:   inquiry@kofpradio.org 

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