JBS USA and Pilgrim’s announce that more than 1,250 team members and dependents have enrolled in community colleges across rural America as part of the company’s Better Futures free college tuition program. With a goal of becoming the largest privately-funded free two-year college initiative in rural America, the Better Futures program has received praise from school administrators and educational leaders across the country.

 

“The JBS USA and Pilgrim’s Better Futures program is off to an outstanding start, with 1,286 of our team members and dependents enrolling in the program in only four months,” said Andre Nogueira, chief executive officer, JBS USA. “The number of students attending college has been in decline for more than a decade, especially among minority communities and across rural America. We believe providing free access to community college can help strengthen rural economies and make a lasting and meaningful difference in the lives of people.”

 

Since the launch of Better Futures in March 2021, the companies have partnered with 36 colleges in 22 states to provide tuition-free education to team members and dependents, many from first-generation American families. Today, approximately 70% of the more than 1,250 Better Futures enrollees are team members.

“When we launched Better Futures, we anticipated that the vast majority of enrollees would be the dependents of our team members,” said Corey Friend, Better Futures program manager. “We have been pleasantly surprised that so many of our team members have decided to take advantage of this opportunity to upskill and prepare themselves for the workforce of the future through education.  Better Futures is unlocking untapped potential across rural America and I could not be more proud of the great progress we have made in such a short amount of time.” 

 

To be eligible for Better Futures, JBS USA and Pilgrim’s team members need only to have worked with the company for the last six months and remain in good standing with the company through completion of their education. Better Futures participants are able to pursue any courses or degree programs they wish.

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“One of my personal goals has been to go to college, but as a single mother that hasn’t been possible for me up to this point,” said Martha Rivas, JBS human resources coordinator in Grand Island, Neb. “I now have the opportunity to make my dream a reality, and it wouldn’t be possible without this support from JBS.”

JBS USA and Pilgrim’s have established partnerships with the following schools to date: 

  • Athens & Elberton, Ga. - Athens Technical College
  • Beardstown, Ill. - Lincoln Land Community College
  • Booneville, Miss. - Northeast MS Community College
  • Brooks, Alberta, Canada - Medicine Hat College
  • Cactus, Texas - Amarillo College
  • Canton & Ellijay, Ga. - Chattahoochee Technical College
  • Carrollton, Ga. - West Georgia Technical College
  • Chattanooga, Tenn. - Chattanooga State Community College
  • Cold Spring, Minn. - St. Cloud Technical and Community College
  • Dalhart, Texas - Frank Phillips College
  • De Queen, Ark. - University of Arkansas Cossatot Community College
  • Douglas, Ga. - South Georgia State College
  • Gainesville, Ga. - Lanier Technical College
  • Grand Island, Neb. - Central Community College
  • Greeley, Colo. - Aims Community College
  • Green Bay, Wis. - Northeast Wisconsin Technical College
  • Hyrum, Utah - Bridgerland Technical College
  • Live Oak, Fla. - North Florida College
  • Louisville, Ky. - Jefferson Community and Technical College
  • Lufkin & Nacogdoches, Texas - Angelina College
  • Marshalltown, Iowa - Marshalltown Community College
  • Marshville, N.C. - South Piedmont Community College
  • Mayfield, Ky. - West Kentucky Community and Technical College
  • Moberly & Centralia, Mo. - Moberly Area Community College
  • Moorefield, W.Va. - Eastern West Virginia Community and Technical College
  • Mt. Pleasant, Texas - Northeast Texas Community College & Texarkana College
  • Omaha, Neb. - Metropolitan Community College
  • Ottumwa & Fremont, Iowa - Indian Hills Community College
  • Plainwell, Mich. - Kalamazoo Valley Community College
  • Riverside, Calif. - Riverside Community College District
  • Sanford, N.C. - Central Carolina Community College
  • Souderton, Pa. - Montgomery County Community College
  • Sumter, S.C. - Central Carolina Technical College
  • Tolleson, Ariz. - Maricopa Community Colleges
  • Worthington & Pipestone, Minn. - Minnesota West Community & Technical College
  • Online - Rio Salado College

The Better Futures program is part of the companies’ Hometown Strong initiative announced last year. Funding for Better Futures is in addition to the $70 million investment for Hometown Strong and will allow the companies to continue to advance the commitment to their team members and their hometowns across the country.