Dow ranked No. 15 on The DiversityInc Top 50 Companies for Diversity list in 2022.
Dow has partnered with the Last Mile Education Fund to create The Dow Last Mile Fund for Manufacturing & Skilled Trades. The fund will invest in students from low-income families who are pursuing manufacturing and skilled trades programs at institutions in Dow communities.
Launching in Jan. 2023 in Louisiana, West Virginia, Texas and Kentucky, The Dow Last Mile Fund for Manufacturing & Skilled Trades aims to boost a more diverse talent pipeline and encourage students to finish their education.
“Manufacturing is critical to the United States economy. The sector contributes $2.77 trillion annually to the national economy and employs close to 13 million people,” said Bob Plishka, Global Director of Strategic Corporate Partnerships and Dow Company Foundation President. “And today, there are approximately 750,000 job openings in the manufacturing industry. By partnering with the Last Mile Education Fund on this initiative, we hope to increase program completion for skilled trades workers and help ensure a diverse pipeline can succeed in high-earning manufacturing careers.”
Program dropouts most commonly occur in the “last mile” of a student’s education, their final two semesters. The fund will provide students access to mini, bridge and larger grants up to $5,000, allowing them the necessary support needed to finish.
Last Mile Education Fund works to bridge the social inequity gap and to increase diversity in technology careers by providing grants to students in low-income, underrepresented communities towards the end of their education. Over 2,900 students have been awarded grants, with 32% Black, 25% Hispanic, 16% Asian, 15% White and 3% Indigenous.
“We are excited to collaborate with Dow to expand the Last Mile investment model to the manufacturing sector. There are abundant jobs waiting for these graduates and financial hurdles should not be a barrier to accessing them,” said Ruthe Farmer, Founder and CEO of the Last Mile Education Fund.