WASHINGTON — With the support of 43 chemical manufacturers and related industry stakeholders, the founding partners of the Future of STEM Scholars Initiative (FOSSI) announced the program surpassed its 2021 goal to fund scholarships for 150 students majoring in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). The program will support 151 scholars in its inaugural year, at an investment of $7.2 million dollars. Multi-year commitments from sponsoring organizations have raised an additional $4 million in support of future scholars.
Launched last year by the American Chemistry Council (ACC), the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE), The Chemours Co. and the HBCU Week Foundation, FOSSI is the chemical industry's collaborative equity, diversity and inclusion initiative aimed at creating pathways for more underrepresented groups to enter and succeed in the chemical industry. FOSSI provides scholarship recipients $10,000 per year for four years, as well as opportunities for internships, mentoring and leadership training.
"I am proud to stand with the more than 40 ACC members and affiliates who have eagerly responded to our ambitious goal to raise $7.2 million in support of FOSSI in its inaugural year," said ACC President & CEO Chris Jahn. "ACC and our members are committed to leading our industry in enhancing diversity in our facilities, our communities and nationwide."
ACC Board of Director's Chairman, Chemours President and CEO, and founding chair of FOSSI, Mark Vergnano, said, "As lead sponsor of FOSSI, Chemours is thrilled to bring our Corporate Responsibility Commitment to action. It is with the support of organizations like these that we can have a meaningful impact on the future workforce of the chemical industry."
Nearly 1,700 high school students across the nation applied for FOSSI scholarships, and the 151 scholarship recipients represent 26 states, with students planning to attend 23 HBCUs.
Ashley Christopher, Founder and CEO of the HBCU Week Foundation, noted, "The incredible interest we saw from these applicants illustrates the need this scholarship fills within our black and brown communities. The excitement from recipients and their families as we've notified each student has been overwhelming, and we are looking forward to building and growing the program to reach even more scholars in the future."
To learn more about FOSSI, visit www.aiche.org/fossi.