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Ford’s Program to Improve Graduation Rates Among First-Generation Students

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Ford Motor’s philanthropic arm, Ford Motor Company Fund, has announced a program to improve graduation rates among first-generation students at Atlanta-based Spelman College.

The program named Ford First Gen @ Spelman College will enable students to succeed throughout their four years in school and get exposure through biweekly seminars, monthly excursions, engagement with faculty and Ford-sponsored summer internships.

The program is part of Ford’s commitment to supporting the students who attend historically black colleges and universities.

“Ford First Gen is a unique approach to helping break down barriers to success that are sometimes faced by first-generation students,” Pamela Alexander, Ford’s community development director, said.

“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.”

Under the program, the 50 students at Spelman will be paired with 10 rising juniors, both first-generation students with the latter serving as peer mentors.

“Spelman College counts among some of its most distinguished alumnae many first-generation graduates, including Starbucks COO and Spelman Board Chair Rosalind Brewer,” Spelman’s President Mary Schmidt Campbell said.

“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 added

Ford has further announced scholarship of $10,000 for each mentor who will in turn also get mentored by a Ford Motor Company professional.

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