PepsiCo is launching a new $40 million scholarship and professional mentoring program that will support Black and Hispanic aspiring and graduating community college students. The programs are launching in Dallas, Westchester, Houston, and Chicago, and PepsiCo plans to expand the program later this fall to 16 additional cities and is aiming to support 4,000 students over 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,” said PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta in a written 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.”
This initiative is in place to help Black and Hispanic students who want to pursue higher education and obtain the skills needed for the job markets. The program provides aspiring students with financial support as well as mentoring and leadership training from PepsiCo employees. Students will be given a chance to apply for internships and jobs at PepsiCo.
The program will have 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 colleges.
PepsiCo is working with Dallas College, Houston Community College, Westchester Community College, and City Colleges of Chicago. This initiative is based on a successful three-year pilot 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. “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.”