Basic Combat Trainees complete an obstacle course at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Oct. 14, 2020.  (U.S. Army Courtesy Photo)
Basic Combat Trainees complete an obstacle course at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., Oct. 14, 2020. (U.S. Army Courtesy Photo) (Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT EUSTIS, Va. – The Alfred Street Baptist Church and the White House Initiative on Historical Black Colleges and Universities Initiatives came together to host the third annual Historically Black Colleges and Universities Presidents Forum this past Friday, Feb 19th.

The HBCU Presidents Forum was created by ASBC to provide a platform to encourage and empower HBCU engagements in federal research, grants, and contracts. Sedika Franklin, associate director of the White House Initiative on HBCUs, stressed the importance of the forum, stating that it gives the Initiative an opportunity to hear the concerns of HBCU leaders and work with them to improve HBCU funding and engagement opportunities. Franklin explained that “with this collective feedback, we have the opportunity to strengthen the HBCU ecosystem as a whole.”

The forum hosted a variety of special guests, from high-ranking military officers to corporate vice presidents, who helped facilitate discussion on topics such as leveraging mentor opportunities, finding available government funding for HBCUs, and the benefits of collaborating with university affiliated research centers.

Gen. Paul Funk II, commanding general of U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, addressed the presidents and chancellors of several HBCUs about the many internship and career opportunities available at TRADOC for high school students and recent high school graduates.

“Serving the nation is not just about serving in uniform,” Funk stated. “There are numerous opportunities to serve, from summer internships to direct student hire positions and apprenticeship programs.” Whether students decide to enlist after graduation, join their college’s ROTC program, or serve as a civilian, these opportunities are available at Army bases all around the world and offer great benefits and stability.

The forum set the stage for the ASBC’s 19th annual HBCU college fair the following Saturday, which has quickly become the largest HBCU festival in the United States. The fair was held virtually this year, but was previously held at locations such as the DC Convention Center and the National Harbor. The fair provides HBCU students with an abundance of scholarship opportunities, with attendees at last year’s event receiving 1,766 scholarships totaling $5.4M.

Army recruiters attended the virtual college fair Saturday afternoon to speak with students interested in joining ROTC or enlisting after graduation. They shared information about scholarship opportunities, enlistment eligibility requirements, and potential career paths offered in the U.S. Army.

The non-profit organization ROCKS, Inc. also attended the college fair. The organization is comprised of active, reserve, and retired officers; military academy and ROTC cadets; Department of Defense civilians; and widows and widowers of deceased members, and provides local communities with professional development guidance and support to military academy and ROTC cadets.

To learn more about career opportunities in the U.S. Army, please visit

To learn more about the annual HBCU college fair, please visit

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