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FBI's Columbia office sets up mentoring program at area HBCUs

Beacon Project allows students at historically Black colleges and universities in South Carolina to explore career options with the agency
Credit: AP Images

COLUMBIA, S.C. — For college students interested in pursuing a career in law enforcement, the Columbia Office of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) is launching a new mentoring program called the Beacon Project.

In the Beacon Project, FBI personnel will serve as mentors to select students at area Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HCBUs) including Allen University and Benedict College in Columbia, Claflin College and South Carolina State University in Orangeburg, and Morris College in Sumter. The purpose of the project -- part of the FBI's diversification effort -- is to form genuine long-lasting relationships between underrepresented communities and the FBI and provide information about potential career opportunities.

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“We applaud the FBI for moving in a direction to mentor possible candidates who are representative of their communities, especially if those communities are currently underrepresented,” said Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis, President and CEO of Benedict College. “Benedict students care about crime in their communities and want to be a part of the solution while benefiting from the exposure of law enforcement careers offered by the FBI’s Beacon Project.”

Mentors will meet with students periodically over the next few months through the beginning of the spring semester.

“We have to be creative in the ways we engage young people,” said C. Tillie a Community Outreach Specialist with the FBI Columbia field office. “It’s important that we create programs to facilitate communication and collaboration, while supporting the FBI’s commitment to diversity.”

The first Beacon Project was launched in Huntsville, Alabama, in June 2021.

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