Hormel Foods announced that it is making a commitment to provide the opportunity of a college education to the dependent children of its inspired team members. The program comes at a time when paying for college has become a hardship for many people, and as community colleges, the foundation of so many communities in the United States, struggle with enrollment.
"We believe equality in education can be a game-changer, and we have decided to take on that challenge. Through a new program called Inspired Pathways, we are going to make the dream of a college education a reality for the children of our team members. When you think about how a college education can change lives and start a ripple effect that will be felt for generations, that's the change-maker Hormel Foods wants to be," said Jim Snee, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer, Hormel Foods.
"Our inspired team consists of some of the most incredibly hardworking and dedicated people you will ever encounter. We have people from all backgrounds and cultures, and it is this diversity that fuels us and makes us the global leader we are in our industry. In some cases, we have team members who never had the opportunity to attend college. This program allows them to give their children that opportunity, creating a new generation of college students. They do so much for us, it's truly a gift that we are excited to give to them."
The Inspired Pathways program is open to all currently employed Hormel Foods team members in the United States and will begin later this year with the first class beginning college in the 2021-2022 academic year. The company will be partnering with community colleges in cities where it has operations. Additionally, the company will be creating community mentorship committees to provide resources to the students, including assistance with applications. The program will also work with students on internships and other career development opportunities.
The program follows the highly successful Hormel Foundation Austin Assurance Scholarship which benefits all high school students who live in Austin, Minnesota.
While the company does have a four-year college scholarship program though the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, the Inspired Pathways program is designed to be inclusive of all dependent children of Hormel Foods team members and is not based on achievement of a certain test score or GPA. The only academic requirements are that the student graduates from high school and meets the community college's entry requirements. Additionally, the company offers tuition reimbursement for current team members who go back to school while working at Hormel Foods.