Corning and North Carolina A&T announced a five-year partnership Thursday which will contribute $5.5 million in scholarships to more than 260 students. The partnership’s goal is to prepare students for careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and education.
Corning, which operates a plant in Midland and other operations across North Carolina, has cultivated a long relationship with N.C. A&T and will provide scholarships through this partnership through 2026. It will especially focus on enhancing STEM education, helping students become community classroom teachers and boosting the number of graduates in other fields critical to the nation’s workforce.
“This important partnership with Corning represents further validation of the incredible opportunities at our university to enhance the face of the American workplace, bringing additional equity to key market sectors,” N.C. A&T Chancellor Harold L. Martin Sr. said in a news release. “We are deeply grateful to our friends and colleagues at Corning for their generosity.”
Funding for the scholarships will go to students in the College of Education, College of Engineering, College of Science and Technology and the Willie A. Deese College of Business and Economics. A&T and Corning will establish a framework for communities to expand STEM education, from providing more highly capable teachers for North Carolina classrooms to preparing students to excel in challenging courses that could otherwise deter them from pursuing STEM careers. Highlights of the partnership:
• Corning Scholars Program for undergraduate and graduate students: $3.3 million in scholarships for those in STEM fields and to help graduate more Black teachers. Scholarship recipients will come from school districts in regions where Corning Incorporated has operations, with plans to return to teach in those districts after graduation. It also expands college partnerships to strengthen STEM readiness for high school and college graduates.
• Experiential Learning Opportunities: $1.7 million to build career preparedness and pre-college initiatives through internships, career treks, site visits and other areas. Students also will participate in project competitions, mentorship and networking opportunities with Corning leaders.
• A&T’s Equity in Education Initiative (E²I): $500,000 for a program to increase the number of Black college graduates securing careers in fields critical to the nation’s workforce. Two initiatives will receive $250,000 each: The Leadership Cohort Initiative in the College of Engineering and the Black Male Initiative in the Deese College of Business and Economics.
E²I, supported by Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT), equips undergraduate students with tailored resources and assistance as they pursue degrees in business, engineering and other professional disciplines. MLT’s intensive one-on-one coaching model will arm students with the tools to obtain and succeed in jobs that provide lasting economic mobility for them and their families.
“We have a longstanding relationship with North Carolina A&T State University and a growing workforce in North Carolina. Some of our most successful leaders are alumni,” said Michael A. Bell, senior vice president and general manager of Corning’s Optical Communications business, headquartered in Charlotte. “We believe education is the most transformative force in our communities. This new Corning Scholar program will help A&T continue to attract the best students and help fuel Corning with the diverse talent needed for another 170 years of life-changing innovation.”
Corning employs more than 4,000 in North Carolina and has a 50-year history of advanced manufacturing in the state.
Founded in 1891 and located in Greensboro, N.C. A&T is the nation’s largest historically Black university. It is a land-grant, doctoral university, classified as “high research” by the Carnegie Foundation and a constituent member of the University of North Carolina System.