The year-round component of the BOSS is in full effect, as we continue to “process” of equipping our student athletes with the tools to adopt an academic and athletic life balance and use their influence with their non-athlete peers so that they, too, can overcome the obstacles they see in their path to excelling academically and joining the ranks of the successful.

Because of our partnership with CSULB and the students who participate in the college’s Men’s Success Initiative, we have a dozen CSULB students (civil engineering, criminal justice, electrical engineer, English rhetoric/ composition, film/electronic arts, kinesiology/exercise
science, pre-law) helping us help the boys, the “train the trainer” aspect that along with the year- round, multi-year component make BOSS unique.

One of our focus areas this school year is financial literacy and in our September session we engaged our youngsters in income-earning research as they explored career opportunities, and investigated how education and training increase their earning power. As part of the conversation, the boys considered what they thought would best advance/help in the career field from the job they selected, bringing into consideration volunteering, internships and job shadowing. We closed out the session with a conversation around how education impacts a career.

Following the September session on careers with an overview of income and taxes (October) was a natural progression for our youngsters to grasp how a paycheck works, and the government’s role in income. After a spirited discussion on federal spending and the deficit, the boys identified the income for the job they were randomly assigned and used their math skills to calculate the federal income tax on their earnings. They then applied their knowledge of percentages to determine what percentage of their salary they paid to taxes as they considered our “progressive tax” system in which a larger percentage of federal income taxes are taken from high-income earners and the tax percentage increases as income goes up.

We mixed in a real-life experience when a select group of young men joined us for the 17 th Annual Leadership Awards of the National Association of Minority Contractors (NAMC). NAMC is a national non-profit trade association established to serve the advocacy, training and business development needs of the over 5000 minority contractors in America. The Southern California Chapter is one of 18 affiliates across the United States, and the event gave our future engineers the opportunity to connect and network with architects, contractors, engineers and other construction professionals from majority companies that included Hunt, Kiewit, Skanska an Turner Construction and minority firms that included Alameda Construction, Coleman Construction and TEC Constructors and Engineers.