One year into PepsiCo’s workforce readiness investment initiative focused on reaching Black and Hispanic youth on the South and West Sides, the company reports significant progress on all fronts and the need for additional investment in community-based organizations that directly impact workforce development.

Launched in October 2021, Pathways to Readiness and Empowerment Program (PREP) is PepsiCo’s commitment to invest more than $5 million in local nonprofits to put nearly 3,000 young people from Chicago’s South and West Sides on the path to high-quality careers by 2026.

In year one of PREP, the program provided more than 600 youth with career readiness resources and held nearly 20 career exposure events and a summer internship program across PepsiCo’s city operations. Additionally, PepsiCo Foundation awarded more than $350,000 in scholarships to Black and Hispanic neighbors through its partnership with City Colleges of Chicago, and several PREP program participants gained full-time employment with the company.

This impact was achieved through PepsiCo and its Foundation’s first-year investment of $1.2 million, which they’re building on by announcing their next round of grants totaling $296,000. This funding will go to Imagine Englewood if, Girls in the Game, UCAN, Chicago Cares, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), Chicago Jesuit Academy, and Ladies of Virtue.

“There’s nothing like the energy, ingenuity, and resilience of young people from South and West Side communities,” said Brittany N. Wilson, PepsiCo Chicago Community Relations Manager. “They inspired us at PepsiCo to focus our efforts on making career resources more available for Black and Hispanic youth and provide meaningful workforce readiness support. Now, we’re proud to take our work to the next level to scale our paid community internship program, hire more young people, and fund more expert South and West Side-based organizations who are the real change makers.”

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