Already faced with numerous challenges, the coronavirus pandemic has inflicted a staggering toll on these communities in lives lost, rates of infection and joblessness, exposing deep-rooted health and economic disparities. It has also increased challenges for students of colour seeking higher education – a key pathway to better pay, greater job opportunities and long-term economic security.
4,000 students in 20 US cities
Launching in Dallas, Westchester, Houston, and Chicago, PepsiCo plans to expand the scholarship programme to 16 additional cities in the fall, putting up $40m to support 4,000 students over five years.
The initiative is based on a successful three-year pilot between the company and City Colleges of Chicago and will provide students with funding for tuition and living expenses, as well as mentoring and leadership training. Scholarship winners will also have the opportunity to apply for internships and jobs at PepsiCo.
“Education is a great equaliser that enables economic growth, upward mobility and helps build generational wealth that lifts up communities over the long-term,” said Ramon Laguarta, PepsiCo’s chairman and CEO.
“With this programme, 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.”