Hormel to partner with community college, provide free education to employees’ children starting in 2021

Hormel Foods has announced that it will provide free college education to the children of its employees beginning next year.

The company said it will partner with community colleges in cities where it has operations to help educate students while also creating mentorship committees to provide resources to the students, including assistance with applications.

The Inspired Pathways program is designed to be inclusive of all dependent children of Hormel Foods employees and isn’t based on achievement of a certain test score or GPA. Hormel said the only requirement is that the student graduates from high school meet the community college’s entry requirements. The program is separate from Hormel’s four-year scholarship program through the National Merit Scholarship Corporation.

Hormel said the program comes at a time when paying for college has become a hardship for many people, and community colleges across the U.S. struggle with enrollment.

"We believe equality in education can be a game-changer, and we have decided to take on that challenge. Through a new program called Inspired Pathways, we are going to make the dream of a college education a reality for the children of our team members. When you think about how a college education can change lives and start a ripple effect that will be felt for generations, that’s the change-maker Hormel Foods wants to be," said Jim Snee, chairman of the board, president and chief executive officer, Hormel Foods.

"Our inspired team consists of some of the most incredibly hardworking and dedicated people you will ever encounter. We have people from all backgrounds and cultures, and it is this diversity that fuels us and makes us the global leader we are in our industry. In some cases, we have team members who never had the opportunity to attend college. This program allows them to give their children that opportunity, creating a new generation of college students. They do so much for us, it’s truly a gift that we are excited to give to them."

The Inspired Pathways program follows the highly successful Hormel Foundation Austin Assurance Scholarship, which benefits all high school students who live in Austin, Minnesota.

The company also offers tuition reimbursement for employees who go back to school while working at Hormel Foods.