Ford Teams Up With Spelman College to Boost Graduation Rates of First-Generation Students

The Ford Motor Company has set up the Ford First Gen initiative at Spelman College in Atlanta in an effort to improve graduation rates of students who are the first generation in their family to attend college. The program will provide Spelman College students a range of personal and professional services and support to help them succeed throughout their four years in college.

Ford First Gen will enhance Spelman’s student success efforts by pairing a cohort of 50 first-generation, first-year students with 10 rising juniors – also first-generation students – who will serve as peer mentors. Mentors will spend at least 10 hours per week with each of their assigned mentees. To encourage continuous engagement and bonding between the mentees, mentors, and college faculty, the first-year cohort of Ford First Gen students will interact together in living and learning environments for their entire four years at Spelman.

Other elements of the program will include:

• Bi-weekly seminars focused on career development, artistic engagement, healthy relationships and envisioning your future, among other topics.
• Monthly excursions within and outside of metro-Atlanta to provide opportunities for students to speak directly with industry professionals.
• Ford-sponsored summer internship opportunities, where solving real world problems will prepare them to meet the needs of an ever-changing world.

Upon completion of their sophomore year, participating students will have the opportunity to become program mentors, gaining additional and valuable leadership experience as they guide a new cohort of incoming first-generation first-year students. Ford Fund will provide each junior mentor with a $10,000 scholarship.

Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell said that the “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.”

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