Free experiential programs aim to increase workforce readiness with support from Chicago employer PepsiCo

CHICAGO, June 7, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Leading organizations in the South and West are offering more summer learning and career development opportunities for Black and Hispanic youth in an effort to promote safety and build professional relationships in the real world. From behind-the-scenes lab tours to in-person observation with food and beverage industry professionals, these summer programs will expand current youth programs and include civic leadership, college readiness, career exploration programs and more. The free youth engagement programs are thanks to $130,000 new grants from PepsiCo under the company’s PREP (Pathways to Readiness and Empowerment Program), more than $5 million five-year initiative to increase access to quality careers among black and Hispanic youth on Chicago South and west sides. Originally launched by PepsiCo in October 2021PREP was designed in collaboration with Chicago community leaders including Imagine Englewood if, North Lawndale Community Coordinating Council Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) and others and is now expanding youth programs that had been interrupted or reduced by COVID-19, as well as adding new offerings and free career program experiences.

“From a post-COVID perspective, we are grateful to program officials and local organizations who are bringing back strong summer activities in person for Chicago youth,” said Claude Robinson, Executive Vice-President External Affairs and Diversity of UCAN. “We want to help prevent the ‘summer slide’, when students regress academically during the break. Giving young people the chance to make in-person professional connections can really improve their lives in a way that lasts well beyond the summer. »

“We as a city, as a community, need to do the work to keep local youth engaged and we need the public sector, private sector and businesses to step up as long-standing partners in this work,” said Cecile DeMello, Executive Director of Teamwork Englewood. “Young people need to have resources in place where they can feel safe, feel like they have purpose, where they can live the life they want to live, and ultimately succeed in both personally and professionally.”

New summer programs funded by PepsiCo include:

The Field Museum Chicago will offer hands-on field trips with scientists focused on STEM careers. Through the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP) and Girls in the Game, young people will participate in field trips and gain first-hand insight into natural science careers with exclusive interactions with working scientists.

Intensify, a nonprofit that works with teens to become confident, career-focused and ready to join the next generation of leaders, will provide youth with summer camp “experiences” three-week career. These immersive learning and career shadowing experiences for young women will be delivered and led by two of PepsiCo’s female-led employee resource groups: Women of Color and the Women’s Inclusion Network.

PepsiCo also provides summer internships, funding and training for eight Cubs Scholars participants, a Cub Charities. Students from East Garfield Park, Brighton Park, Rogers Park and others will embark on an intensive six-week learning journey working alongside brands and corporate leaders from Gatorade, PepsiCo Beverages North America and Quaker Oats.

YOU CAN, a nonprofit that strives to build strong youth and families through compassionate healing, education and empowerment, is offering interactive career exploration fairs for young people this summer. from 16 to 24 years old. Led by PepsiCo volunteers, the fairs will offer insight into multiple career paths such as sales and merchandising while providing training for students to help them improve their personal branding, soft skills and leadership skills. .

Imagine Englewood if (IEi), a non-profit organization whose mission is to strengthen and empower the Greater Englewood community by teaching youth and their families healthy living, environmental awareness and positive communication skills, will bring youth to the PepsiCo offices at the Old Post Office throughout the summer. Young participants will benefit from experiential career experience, observing jobs at Gatorade, Quaker and other PepsiCo brands.

“We want more black and Hispanic neighbors who know the city better and its incredible potential to help us grow our company’s presence and brands here, working with us side by side as employees,” said matt crocker, senior director of human resources at PepsiCo. “There is no better way for us to do this than by funding highly effective and trusted community organizations on the south and west sides that are already providing more neighbors with the professional resources they need. PepsiCo is proud to help create opportunities for young people around Chicago South and West Sides as they prepare for fulfilling careers and we hope some of them will choose to bring their talent to our PepsiCo Chicago team in the future.”

Recognizing that Chicago Black and Hispanic communities are among the most affected by hunger, which often impacts student academic performance, The PepsiCo Foundation has provided more than 250,000 servings of nutritionally balanced meals since its presence in Chicago and will continue to provide meals this summer. Meals are distributed by the Foundation’s Food for Good program in partnership with Girls in the Game, Boys Club of Cicero and other Chicago Nonprofit.

Additionally, for the second year in a row, PepsiCo is partnering with the Juneteenth Illinois Initiative by investing in its scholarship and mentorship program for college students. Chicago South and west sides. Each scholar will be paired with a mentor who will serve as a support system throughout their freshman year of college, expanding the PepsiCo Foundation’s existing Uplift and SMILE scholarship programs with the City Colleges of Chicago which has provided 72 scholarships to date to Black and Hispanic Chicagoans to further their education in high-growth industries.

Over the past year, PepsiCo PREP funds have supported leading community organizations, including:

girls in game and PepsiCo have partnered to provide nearly 50 teens with career discovery and leadership development activities throughout the year. In April, five high school students met with members of PepsiCo’s human resources team at their new headquarters in the old post office building. The teens participated in a resume-building workshop, received one-on-one instruction, and received professional portraits, which resulted in two students gaining paid summer internship opportunities.

EXCHANGE recognized that their youth organizing efforts needed to include workforce development training that included leadership development as a foundation. SWOP used PREP grants to hire longtime community leader and workforce development specialist, Quabeeny ‘Q’ Daniels. With this new addition, SWOP will launch its new training over the summer informed by a series of community focus groups with families and individuals. Through PREP support, SWOP seeks to increase the network of local employer partners, expand youth access to career path programs, connect youth to violence prevention resources, and provide youth with pathways paths to meaningful employment opportunities.

Englewood Teamwork is working with PepsiCo to increase the company’s ability to host interns from the community who include mentoring and reverse mentoring and youth voice as part of the process.

Chicago Jesuit Academy provides stipends to students as they invest in technical training programs to help them enter the workforce with relevant certification and training to ensure a living wage.

PREP builds on PepsiCo’s 120-year history and investment in Chicago. This program is an extension of PepsiCo’s Racial Equality Journey, a five-year, $570 million+ set of commitments to create opportunity and empower Black and Hispanic people in the workforce, partnerships PepsiCo business and communities.

About PepsiCo
PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than a billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $79 billion in net revenue in 2021, driven by a complementary portfolio of convenience foods and beverages that includes Lay’s, Doritos, Cheetos, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Quaker and SodaStream. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including many iconic brands that each generate over $1 billion in estimated annual retail sales. Leading PepsiCo is our vision to be the global leader in convenient food and beverage by winning with PepsiCo Positive (pep+). pep+ is our end-to-end strategic transformation that puts sustainability and human capital at the center of how we will create value and growth by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for the planet and people . For more information, visit

Jessica Ortis
Rise Strategy Group
C: 312-550-0102
E : [email protected]

SOURCEPepsiCo, Inc.


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