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PepsiCo Invests in WCC Students in Support of Equity Programs

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Congratulations to Westchester Community College (WCC) on its selection as a partner by PepsiCo and its philanthropic arm, The PepsiCo Foundation, in a new scholarship and professional mentoring program that will address the issue of minority underrepresentation in high-demand fields.

As part of its commitment to lift up Black and Hispanic businesses and communities in the U.S. to address issues of inequality and create opportunity, PepsiCo announced this week it is launching a $40 million program to provide financial support, mentoring, and opportunities for work experience to aspiring and graduating community college students. Westchester Community College is one of only a handful of community colleges in the nation to receive grants as part of this program in support of two scholarship programs specifically for Black and Hispanic students attending WCC.

A scholarship grant of $600,000 over two years supports the PepsiCo Foundation Uplift Scholarships. Eighty Black and Hispanic current and prospective students at WCC will be awarded up to $2,500 annually to help cover the costs of tuition and other expenses related to obtaining degrees and/or professional certifications in Information Technology. Forty scholarships are reserved for full-time matriculating students earning Associate Degrees in Cybersecurity, Computer Information Systems or Interactive Technologies. Forty additional scholarships are reserved for students pursuing professional credentials in WCC’s short-term workforce development programs.

The PepsiCo Foundation S.M.I.L.E. Scholarship (Success Matters in Life & Education) will award two-year grants of up to $25,000 per year ($50,000 total) to ten Black and Hispanic WCC students in each of the next five years. To qualify, students must be transferring to complete their Bachelor’s degree in full-time undergraduate study at an accredited four-year college or university in the U.S. The first 10 WCC students to be selected as S.M.I.L.E. Scholarship recipients will be announced this spring.

Both Uplift and S.M.I.L.E. Scholarship recipients will also receive mentorship and leadership training from PepsiCo employees and will have the opportunity to apply for internships and jobs at PepsiCo.

“Westchester Community College and PepsiCo are both committed to diversity and taking visible actions to remove barriers to access and advancement that adversely affect individuals from marginalized communities,” said Dr. Belinda S. Miles, President of Westchester Community College. “These scholarship programs will enable many students who might otherwise have faced insurmountable financial hurdles to pursue their academic goals. Collectively, these programs will also benefit our community and our economic re-emergence by increasing our pool of qualified workers in high-demand fields.”PepsiCo Chairman and CEO Ramon Laguarta said, “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 “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.”

PepsiCo and WCC are proud members of the Business Council of Westchester.

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