PepsiCo and its philanthropic arm The PepsiCo Foundation recognize the challenges in America’s educational institutions and the need for systemic change as it pertains to low-income students of color.
For these students who are in pursuit of higher education, PepsiCo has announced a new $40 million scholarship and professional mentoring program to support Black and Hispanic community college students.
According to a press release, the new $40 million initiative will start off launching in Dallas, Westchester, Houston, and Chicago. PepsiCo’s plan is to expand the program across 16 additional U.S. cities in the fall and hopes to support roughly 4,000 students over the next five years.
“Education is a great equalizer that enables economic growth, upward mobility and helps build generational wealth that lifts up communities over the long-term,” PepsiCo Chairman/ CEO Ramon Laguarta shares in a statement. “With this program, we are creating a differentiated experience for students that goes beyond scholarships by providing critical training, support and other services that will put them on the path to success. Last year, PepsiCo committed to using our resources to combat deep-rooted economic disparities that have long impacted Black and Hispanic communities. We’re proud to announce this community college program today as a key part of that effort.”
The goal for this new comprehensive program is to help Black and Hispanic students succeed in their community college careers by offering training and skills in order for them to be prepared to enter the current and future job markets.
Within the program students will receive financial support for their education expenses, mentoring and leadership training from PepsiCo employees, as well as opportunities to apply for internships and jobs at PepsiCo.
The program is split up into two types of scholarships — Uplift Scholarships for students seeking two-year associate degrees or trade certificates and S.M.I.L.E (Success Matters in Life & Education) scholarships for community college graduates transitioning to four-year universities.
A press release reports that although this is a newly-launched program, it’s based on a successful three-year pilot that was previously introduced between PepsiCo and City Colleges of Chicago.
“City Colleges of Chicago is honored to be a part of The PepsiCo Foundation scholarship initiative. These transformative resources will help our talented students enroll, persist and complete. I have no doubt that this program will reshape lives,” said Juan Salgado, Chancellor of City Colleges of Chicago, in a statement. “We are thankful that PepsiCo put words into action by supporting the academic excellence of community colleges. I applaud their efforts in removing barriers to higher education, and to helping end racial inequity in education and beyond.”
This program is an extension of PepsiCo’s $570 million-plus five-year commitment to uplift and amplify Black and Hispanic businesses and communities in the U.S. to address America’s issues surrounding racial inequality.
For more information about PepsiCo’s diversity and engagement efforts, click here.