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In an effort to increase the representation of Black first-generation college students at Spelman College, the institution has teamed up with Ford Motor Company for the creation of a new initiative, the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education reported.

Dubbed Ford First Gen, the program is designed to help aspiring college students overcome socio-economic barriers that prevent them from furthering their education, the news outlet writes. Through the initiative, participants will be able to take advantage of services and resources that will ensure their personal, academic, and professional success; including being mentored by students who are in their junior year at Spelman. After going through the program, students will have the opportunity to mentor those who are following in their footsteps. Mentors will be awarded $10,000 towards their tuition.

Under the program, there will be seminars hosted that are related to career development and goal setting, trips that will give participants the opportunity to interact with individuals who are making moves in industries that they aspire to pursue careers in, and students will also be aligned with summer internships to build upon their professional experiences.

Mary Schmidt Campbell, President, Spelman College, is excited about the partnership with Ford Motor Company and believes that the program will be nothing short of impactful. “Ford Motor Company’s partnership with us in the Ford First Gen program brings a comprehensive, innovative and collaborative approach that exemplifies an important part of ‘the Spelman Promise’ – ensuring that every Spelmanite graduates with a competitive edge,” she said in a statement, according to the news outlet. Ford is looking forward to helping students of color overcome barriers to education. “Ford First Gen is a unique approach to helping break down barriers to success that are sometimes faced by first-generation students,” Pamela Alexander, Director of Community Development at Ford Motor Company Fund told Diverse Issues in Higher Education. “We are very excited about the opportunity we have to impact students’ lives through the mentorship, education and cultural experiences that Ford First Gen will offer, and given Spelman’s rich legacy of success, we could not ask for a better partner for this program.”

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