Newark, New Jersey-based, Black-Owned startup PeduL, just launched its new #StepUp20 Challenge. The challenge is a $10 million scholarship campaign that focuses on two things: 1. Linking brands and companies with diverse talent; and 2. Providing diverse students with easier access to job opportunities through paid internships.
For the Black community, centuries of systemic racism coupled with COVID-19 has shown the existence of socio-economic inequities. The civil unrest currently sweeping our nation that has had many chanting, 'Black Lives Matter,' should further encourage employers and brands to step it up - to show their support. Thus, the #StepUp20 Challenge serves to give brands and corporations access to PeduL’s talent network of about 5 million Black and Brown students. A 2019 study of the labor market reported Black workers were twice as likely to be unemployed than their White counterparts and PeduL's CEO, Chisa Egbelu says, "The time for lip service and performative unity from corporate America has passed. Press releases without actionable plans aren’t enough anymore."
John E. Harmon, Sr., IOM, Founder & CEO of The African American Chamber of Commerce of New Jersey (AACCNJ) was one of the first to sign up for the #StepUp20 Challenge. He says, “Issues of diversity in corporate America pose a significant challenge to students of color as they aspire to train for, and ultimately apply to their job of choice." Harmon, Sr. believes, "PeduL has a solution that allows brands to cut to the chase and bring on interns and entry-level talent specifically because they recognize the value that diversity brings to their company culture and their bottom line.” In addition to his pledge, Harmon, Sr. helped PeduL to receive a commitment of $10,000 from Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey.
The goal of PeduL and its partner brands is to also reach students at the nexus of their issues by funding their college tuition. “PeduL helps to close the opportunity gap for students of color,” said Egbelu. “We democratize access to education while enacting real systemic change within corporate America. With PeduL, those who sign up for the #StepUp2020 will be part of real, meaningful change for the Black and Brown community. However, Kayla Michele, the President of PeduL makes it clear that "[PeduL] wants to work with brands who go beyond saying the right thing - we want those who actually do the right thing."
For brands and companies looking to sign up for the #StepUp2020, visit PeduL.com. Students looking to submit a scholarship application should visit the site as well. The #StepUp2020 scholarship fund will begin distributions in time for the January 2021 semester.
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PeduL is a digital solution at the intersection of access to higher education, corporate recruitment, and social responsibility. PeduL contracts with enterprises to market custom financial scholarships, allowing corporates to engage with thousands of applicants and convert best-fits to internship and full-time positions. For students seeking financial support, PeduL offers a one-size-fits-all common application. For more information, visit PeduL.com.