January 24, 2023

Progress Report

One year into PepsiCo’s workforce readiness investment initiative focused on reaching Black and Hispanic youth on the South and West Sides, the company reports strong progress on all fronts and the need for additional investment in community-based organizations with direct impact in workforce development. Launched in October 2021, Pathways to Readiness and Empowerment Program (PREP) is PepsiCo’s commitment to invest more than $5 million in local nonprofits with the aim to put nearly 3,000 young people from Chicago's South and West Sides on the path to high-quality careers by 2026.

In year one of PREP, over 600 youth were provided with career readiness resources, nearly 20 career exposure events and a summer internship program were held across PepsiCo’s city operations, more than $400,000 in scholarships were awarded to Black and Hispanic neighbors from the PepsiCo Foundation through its partnership with City Colleges of Chicago and several PREP program participants gained full-time employment with the company. Doubling down on this initial success, the company announces its next round of grants totaling $296,000 across Imagine Englewood if, Girls in the Game, UCAN, Chicago Cares, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), Chicago Jesuit Academy, and Ladies of Virtue.

PREP illustrates PepsiCo’s continued progress on its U.S. Racial Equality Journey, the company’s commitment to investing $570 million+ over five years to increase Black and Hispanic representation, leverage its scale and influence across suppliers and strategic partners, and help address systemic barriers and create economic opportunities for Black and Hispanic Americans.

Quotation icon

There’s nothing like the energy, ingenuity and resilience of young people from South and West Side communities. They inspired us at PepsiCo to focus our efforts on making career resources more available for Black and Hispanic youth and provide meaningful workforce readiness support. Now we’re proud to take our work to the next level with the goal to scale our paid community internship program, hire more young people, and fund more expert South and West Side-based organizations who are the real change makers.

PepsiCo Chicago Community Relations Manager Brittany N. Wilson