LIMESTONE COUNTY, Ala. (WHNT) — Athens State University celebrated a ribbon-cutting for the new ‘Center of Excellence in Education Diversity.’

The ribbon-cutting was hosted by the ‘Men of Kennis’ program. The program was created in 2020 as an initiative to increase the number of African-American and Hispanic male teachers in the public school system.

Jaylen Wiggins is the program specialist for the Men in Kennis. He says the program is there to provide scholarship opportunities to cover tuition for men of color pursuing an educational degree.

“I noticed the benefits of working with the students, not only in regards to getting them to be comfortable being around men of color but also in regards to some of my peers who maybe would never have that type of experience, as well as the student’s parents who may not be regularly exposed to men of color. So, we’re just trying to break that stereotype and break down those walls,” Wiggins said.

He says the biggest thing that drew him to the program was the need for male teachers in general and lack of representation.