GREENSBORO, N.C. — It’s a partnership calling for “Equity in Education.” The nation’s largest retailer, Walmart and the largest historically Black university, North Carolina A&T State University are teaming up.
A $5 million grant from the retail giant is geared towards increasing the number of college graduates and connecting them with promising employers.
It could change the lives of students like Charles Cooper.
“I’m pretty excited that we’re getting a pretty decent sized grant,” the fourth-year engineering student said.
Cooper said the engineering program is challenging but wants to see more people following suit.
“It’s very important to the future of our country,” he said. “Definitely would love to have more people come in.”
Administrators tell FOX8 it’s the largest grant the university has received and will be used over the next five years in both the business and engineering school. They report the 2018-19 four-year graduation rate of 27.5% of students and are aiming for 40% percent by 2023.
“Underperformance, particularly in higher education and among the male population is a real challenge,” Vice Chancellor for University Advancement Kenneth Sigmon said. “They have a lower success rate than women throughout the same program.”
The grant will provide mentoring, scholarships and internship opportunities.
“We know the higher percentage of students participating in internships obviously leads to a higher percentage of placement,” Sigmon said.
A total of 150 students will be selected to participate each year.
“So using those tools now in college will help in the workforce,” Cooper said. “Especially for like younger freshmen and sophomores that are getting acclimated to school.”
The initiative will launch in early 2021 and roll out over the course of three semesters.
“I’m not exactly sure where it’ll take me,” Cooper said. “I definitely know I’ll be set for the future.”
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