By Lauren Anderson -Feb 11, 2021
SC Johnson is donating $5.5 million to Gateway Technical College to create scholarships for women, people of color and low-income students pursuing STEM-related career fields.
The gift from the Racine-based manufacturer is the largest single donation to the school in its history.
The donation will fund 18 scholarships annually over the next 10 years for female students, underrepresented students of color and low-income students enrolling in certain STEM programs at Gateway. Eligible programs include Electrical Engineering Technology, Architectural-Structural Engineering Technician, IT-Data Analytics Specialist, IT-Cybersecurity Specialist, ITNetwork Specialist, IT-Web Developer and IT-Software Developer.
SC Johnson STEM Scholars Pathway scholarships will be available to high school graduates who live within the Racine Unified School District and attend a high school within Racine County. After students complete their Gateway degree, they can enroll at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Carthage College or Concordia University to complete their bachelor’s degree.
Students will receive $7,500 annually for four years to pay for costs at Gateway and MSOE, Carthage College or Concordia University, including tuition, books, supplies and additional services.
“Removing barriers to economic mobility for underserved people is key to the future strength of the United States,” said Fisk Johnson, chairman and chief executive officer of SC Johnson. “The high-demand fields chosen for these scholarships, like software development, electrical engineering and cybersecurity, can create higher-paying jobs, provide long-term career opportunities for students and benefit our economy. We are pleased to be able to support Gateway in its efforts to do just that for people in our community.”
SC Johnson, through its charitable foundation, will contribute $1.1 million to the Gateway Foundation every year for the next five years for the scholarship program.
“I’m thrilled and honored that SC Johnson is making that level of commitment, which is transformational on two fronts: One is the size of the gift. It’s a very large gift … extended over 10 years so it’s making an investment over a decade in young people as they build their pathways through STEM education,” said Gateway president Bryan Albrecht. “Second is the targeted focus to not only providing talent in high demand areas … but addressing the absolute need for women in those careers and students of color and to make sure we create affordability pathways for underserved populations.”
The partnering four-year institutions have pledged a matching annual amount of $7,500 for each student.
The funds will also provide access to support services for the students, such as tutoring, counseling and community networking services at each of the institutions.
“MSOE is extremely proud of our partnership with Gateway Technical College,” said MSOE president John Walz. “Our first transfer agreement with Gateway was signed nearly 20 years ago and we are excited about strengthening and expanding the relationship using this very generous support from SC Johnson.”
Since 2001, SC Johnson has contributed more than $10.8 million to Gateway. Most recently, the company provided a donation of more than $530,000 for Gateway’s Highly Skilled Occupations for Professional Employment Initiative, which provides training opportunities in high-demand fields to people displaced from work due to the COVID-19 pandemic.