With $1.2 million invested in workforce and career programs and over 600 youth reached in one year, PREP is on track to put 3,000 youth on the path to high-quality careers over the next four years

CHICAGO, Feb. 14, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — 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 that directly impact 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, the program provided more than 600 youth with career readiness resources and held nearly 20 career exposure events and a summer internship program across PepsiCo’s city operations. Additionally, PepsiCo Foundation awarded more than $350,000 in scholarships to Black and Hispanic neighbors through its partnership with City Colleges of Chicago, and several PREP program participants gained full-time employment with the company.

This impact was achieved through PepsiCo and its Foundation’s first-year investment of $1.2 million, which they’re building on by announcing their next round of grants totaling $296,000. This funding will be given to Imagine Englewood if, Girls in the Game, UCAN, Chicago Cares, Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), Chicago Jesuit Academy, and Ladies of Virtue.

“There’s nothing like the energy, ingenuity and resilience of young people from South and West Side communities,” said Brittany N. Wilson, PepsiCo Chicago Community Relations Manager. “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.”

UCAN Chicago, a nonprofit that strives to build strong youth and families through compassionate healing, education and empowerment, utilized PREP funding to offer interactive Career Exploration Fairs for youth ages 16-24 over the summer. As a result, Marilyn Ulloa, a 22-year-old from Cicero, was inspired to obtain her Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) and is now working as a full-time CDL driver out of PepsiCo’s 35th Street distribution center.

“There’s not a lot of big companies that have facilities on the South and West sides. Many have closed, and PepsiCo is the only one that still has a presence,” said Ulloa, a UCAN participant and now PepsiCo employee. “It’s important that big companies invest in the South and West Sides from a workforce development standpoint to help and give opportunities back to its communities.”

Another partner of PREP, the Southwest Organizing Project (SWOP), leveraged PepsiCo’s $75,000 grant to expand its credentialing resources for Southwest Side neighbors, helping 24 young people enroll in credentialing programs at Daley College and connect many more young people to workforce resources and job placement services.  

“PepsiCo is setting the bar, and setting it high, by recognizing that organizations like ours live in these communities and understand the barriers and issues that youth face,” said Quabeeny Daniels, Employment Organizer for SWOP. “PepsiCo realizes that they don’t need to reinvent the wheel, but rather provide local nonprofits with the support needed to help our young people succeed. With the resources provided by PepsiCo’s PREP program, we have been able to help even more young people value their own leadership, power, value, identity and career aspirations.”

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.

For more information on PREP please visit

About PepsiCo

PepsiCo products are enjoyed by consumers more than one billion times a day in more than 200 countries and territories around the world. PepsiCo generated more than $86 billion in net revenue in 2022, driven by a complementary beverage and convenient foods portfolio that includes Lay’s, Doritos, Cheetos, Gatorade, Pepsi-Cola, Mountain Dew, Quaker, and SodaStream. PepsiCo’s product portfolio includes a wide range of enjoyable foods and beverages, including many iconic brands that generate more than $1 billion each in estimated annual retail sales.

Guiding PepsiCo is our vision to Be the Global Leader in Beverages and Convenient Foods by Winning with pep+ (PepsiCo Positive). pep+ is our strategic end-to-end transformation that puts sustainability and human capital at the center of how we will create value and growth by operating within planetary boundaries and inspiring positive change for planet and people. For more information, visit, and follow on TwitterInstagramFacebook, and LinkedIn @PepsiCo. 

Jessica Ortiz
Rise Strategy Group
C: 312-550-0102
E: [email protected] 

SOURCE PepsiCo, Inc.

Originally published at
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