The PepsiCo Foundation announced a new $40 million scholarship and professional mentoring program to support Black and Hispanic aspiring and graduating community college students.
The program, which will be launching in Dallas, Westchester, Houston, and Chicago, aims to support 4,000 students over five years.
PepsiCo plans to expand the program to 16 additional cities in the fall.
“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.
“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 $40 million initiative is designed to help Black and Hispanic students pursue and thrive in higher education and obtain the foundation and skills they need for current and future job markets.
The program includes of 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 currently 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.”