Hormel Foods wants to send more people to college.
The company’s latest innovation effort involves what Hormel called a commitment to provide the opportunity of a college education to the dependent children of its employees. The program comes at a time when paying for college has become a hardship for many people, and as community colleges, the foundation of many communities in the United States, struggle with enrollment, the company said.
“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,” said Jim Snee, chairman of the board, president and CEO of Austin, Minnesota-based Hormel. “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.”
The Inspired Pathways program is open to all currently employed Hormel team members in the United States and will begin later this year, with the first class beginning college in the 2021-22 academic year. The company will partner with community colleges in cities where it has operations. Additionally, Hormel will create community mentorship committees to provide resources to students, including assistance with applications. The program will also work with students on internships and other career development opportunities.
Inspired Pathways follows the highly successful Hormel Foundation Austin Assurance Scholarship which benefits all high school students who live in Hormel's hometown.
While the company already offers a four-year college scholarship program through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation, Inspired Pathways is designed to include all dependent children of Hormel team members and isn't based on achievement of a certain test score or GPA. The only academic requirements are that the student graduates from high school and meets a community college’s entry requirements. Additionally, the company offers tuition reimbursement for current team members who go back to school while working at Hormel.