Dow & Last Mile Education Fund partner to invest in students pursuing manufacturing careers

Published 9:41 am Saturday, January 21, 2023

MIDLAND, Mich. – Last Mile Education Fund and Dow announced a collaborative fund to invest in low-income students nearing completion of their manufacturing and skilled trades programs at institutions in Dow communities.

The Dow Last Mile Fund for Manufacturing & Skilled Trades aims to create a more robust, diverse and readily available technical talent pipeline. The project will start in 2023 in select Dow communities:

  • Louisiana – St. Charles; St. James; and St. John the Baptist parishes
  • West Virginia – Kanawha County (Charleston, South Charleston, Institute and Nitro)
  • Texas – Orange and Port Arthur
  • Kentucky – Carrolton

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. Today, there are approximately 750,000 job openings in the manufacturing industry.

“We understand that challenges arise, and roadblocks can stand in the way of success,” said Stacey Gautreau, public affairs director for Dow’s U.S. Gulf Coast. “Programs like the Last Mile Education Fund give students an opportunity to complete the final stretch of their education and pursue their manufacturing careers. We are committed to supporting our neighbors through every step of the journey.”

The Dow Last Mile Fund for Manufacturing & Skilled Trades provides rapid access to mini, bridge and larger grants – up to $5,000 – during the “last mile” of a student’s program in an effort to prevent dropouts when they most commonly occur, allowing students to finish their education. Students will be eligible during their last two semesters of study, typically when they require the most support.

“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,” shared Ruthe Farmer, founder and CEO of the Last Mile Education Fund.

Grants are available beginning January 10 at https://www.lastmile-ed.org/dowfund.