BENTONVILLE, Ark.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Today, Walmart and America’s largest and top-ranked historically black university, North Carolina A&T State University, are announcing plans to launch the Equity in Education Initiative, a new program aimed at increasing the number of African American college graduates securing careers in fields critical to the nation’s workforce. The program will support undergraduate students with tailored resources and assistance as they pursue degrees in business, engineering and other professional disciplines.
The Equity in Education Initiative, powered by a $5 million investment via Walmart which is the largest corporate investment in North Carolina A&T to date, will deliver a spectrum of resources through four focus areas:
- The Black Male Initiative, housed in the Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics and created and implemented with seed funding by the ELC, will address Black male achievement, retention and graduation rates, often lower than that of their female peers.
- The Leadership Cohort Initiative will be supported by Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), and will provide male and female students in the colleges of business and engineering with the skills, coaching and connections to accelerate their professional careers after graduation.
- Advancing Blacks in Engineering aims to not only produce even more graduates in engineering, but to prepare them for leadership roles within the profession, which has been historically dominated by majority populations.
- Scholarship Support will be made available for students. While North Carolina A&T is ranked among the most affordable universities in the country, tuition can be daunting for many families.
Each focus area will support academic performance, enhance critical resources needed to graduate on time and with less debt burden, prepare graduates for first destination career readiness and expand social mobility through additional economic pathways.
“The Equity in Education Initiative is not only an important step in advancing Walmart’s focus on eliminating barriers to opportunity, it also lays foundational building blocks with a diverse pool of talent who we hope will one day consider joining the Walmart team,” said Donna Morris, executive vice president and chief people officer at Walmart. “We’re focused on building a Walmart for everyone and we know these programs will benefit students while also helping to further that vision.”
The $5 million investment for the Equity in Education Initiative is in addition to the broader $100 million Walmart and the Walmart Foundation announced this summer to create a new center for racial equity. Walmart also announced four shared value networks (SVNs) focused on racial equity in our nation’s criminal justice, education, financial and healthcare systems. This is this first major initiative coming out of the SVNs, being driven by the education SVN.
Participants in the Equity in Education Initiative will have the opportunity to practice business case studies provided by Walmart as part of a rigorous career-readiness curriculum.
“As a leading STEM university with longstanding strengths in business education, we are always interested in growing the size and academic strength of our student body and the number of outstanding graduates we send into the world,” said N.C. A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin, Sr. “We are profoundly grateful for the support of Walmart and the partnership of our colleagues at The ELC and MLT. Their collective involvement in the Equity in Education Initiative will ensure this initiative pays dividends for many years to come.”
“We applaud Walmart’s commitment to the Equity in Education program, allowing us to bring the Black Male Initiative to a broader group of N.C. A&T students,” says Crystal E. Ashby, interim president and CEO of The Executive Leadership Council. “We designed the Black Male Initiative with a specific intent of investing in and changing the trajectory of the lives of young Black men. We value Walmart’s action to close the performance gap between young Black men and women, and young Black men and the majority population, at the college level.”
“Sixty percent of the 450,000 Black and Latinx students who graduate from college each year end up unemployed or in jobs that don’t require a four-year degree. That is not acceptable,” said MLT Founder and CEO John Rice. “Our objective is to equip these students with the professional coaching, high performance playbook, and employer connections to ensure they land career path jobs that deliver economic mobility for them and their families."
The initiative is slated for five years and will roll out over the course of three semesters, beginning in early 2021.
Walmart Inc. (NYSE:WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better - anytime and anywhere - in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, over 265 million customers and members visit approximately 11,500 stores under 56 banners in 27 countries and eCommerce websites. With fiscal year 2020 revenue of $524 billion, Walmart employs over 2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at twitter.com/walmart.
About North Carolina A&T State University
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University is the nation’s largest historically Black university, as well as its top ranked (Money magazine, Best Colleges 2020). It is a land-grant, doctoral university, classified as “high research” by the Carnegie Foundation, and a constituent member of the University of North Carolina System. A&T is known for its leadership in producing graduates in engineering, agriculture and other STEM fields. The university was established in 1891 and is located in Greensboro, North Carolina.
About The Executive Leadership Council
The Executive Leadership Council opens channels of opportunity for the development of Black executives to positively impact business and our communities. An independent non-profit 501(c)(3) founded in 1986, The ELC is the pre-eminent membership organization committed to increasing the number of global Black executives in C-suites, on corporate boards and in global enterprises. Comprising more than 800 current and former Black CEOs, senior executives and board directors at Fortune 1000 and Global 500 companies, and entrepreneurs at top-tier firms, its members work to build an inclusive business leadership pipeline that empowers global Black leaders to make impactful contributions to the marketplace and the global communities they serve. For more information, please visit www.elcinfo.com.
About Management Leadership for Tomorrow
Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT) is a national nonprofit working to transform our country’s leadership pipelines and increase access to the American Dream. MLT provides Black, Latinx, and Native American talent with the coaching, playbook, and networks they need in order to excel in high-trajectory careers, secure economic mobility for their families, and become high-impact senior leaders equipped to advocate for vulnerable communities. MLT also provides a comprehensive solution for institutions, which combines best-in-class recruitment, retention, and diversity strategy offerings. Learn more at www.mlt.org.