UNCF Ft. Lauderdale and Ryder: Partners for HBCUs and STEM Education

UNCF Ft. Lauderdale and Miami-based transportation giant Ryder are partners in South Florida, thanks to Ryder’s sponsorship of UNCF’s 17th Annual Leader’s Luncheon in Fort Lauderdale. Ryder’s sponsorship helped UNCF-member HBCUs, including Edward Waters College in Jacksonville, Florida Memorial University in Miami Gardens and Bethune-Cookman University in Daytona Beach, keep their academic programs strong, their tuitions affordable and their student aid available. More than 5,500 Florida students attend UNCF HBCUs, and Florida HBCUs generate almost 8,000 jobs, $833 million in economic impact and $8.6 billion in lifetime earnings for Florida HBCU graduates.

The two Florida partners have also taken their partnership national, challenging the shortage in STEM-educated African Americans. Although employment in science, technology, engineering and mathematics—the STEM fields—will increase by more than 9 million jobs by 2022, African Americans represent just six percent of the national STEM workforce. STEM-educated African American women are in especially short supply, as are African Americans with strong college preparation in logistics, the science and technology involved in moving resources to where they are needed, a field in which Ryder is a national leader.

To increase the numbers of minority women in careers involving logistics, UNCF and Ryder’s charitable arm, the Ryder Systems Charitable Foundation, have partnered to established the Ryder System Charitable Foundation Scholarship program. The Foundation has pledged $50,000 in 2017 and $50,000 more for a second year, to fund 18 scholarships for high-achieving minority women. Among the scholarship recipients was senior Yolanda Tinker, who appeared at the UNCF Leaders Luncheon to thank the Foundation and UNCF for affording her the opportunity to complete her education.

In the spirit of UNCF’s iconic motto, “A mind is a terrible thing to waste,”® Ryder’s sponsorship of the UNCF Leaders Luncheon and its creation of the Ryder System Charitable Foundation Scholarship program are its investment in better futures. Yolanda Tinker, and the 17 other scholarship recipients, are its dividends.