Erica Lamberson leads a group of woman entering for the Spelman College Commencement ceremony, Sunday, May 17, 2015, at the Georgia International Convention Center in Atlanta. (Special/John Amis)

Spelman College, Ford Motor Co. partner to help first-generation students

Spelman College and the Ford Motor Company Fund on Tuesday announced a partnership to help more of the college’s first-generation students complete school.

Ten rising juniors who are first-generation Spelman students will be paired with 50 first-generation, first-year students. The mentors will spend at least 10 hours per week with each of their assigned mentees.

The students will participate in Ford-sponsored summer internship opportunities and make monthly visits with local business leaders. 

Ford Fund provides each junior mentor with a $10,000 scholarship, as well as the opportunity to themselves be mentored by a Ford Motor Company professional.

The parternship was announced at the Jimmy Carter Presidential Library and Museum in Midtown Atlanta.

About 15 percent of Spelman’s students are first-generation students, a college spokesman said. Federal research shows about 33 percent of college students are the first in their immediate family to pursue a higher education. First-generation students, though, are at a greater risk of dropping out because they often lack the support and guidance once they arrive on campus, researchers say.

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.