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November 23, 2023
Smithfield Foods has donated $1 million to launch the Southeastern Education and Economic Development apprenticeship program in North Carolina. A partnership between the North Carolina Business Committee for Education and Smithfield Foods, SEED is a comprehensive youth apprenticeship program that will provide career pathways and college education for high school students in southeastern North Carolina counties.
"Smithfield is strongly committed to making sure students have educational opportunities that will fuel their careers in the years ahead," said Steve Evans, vice president of community development for Smithfield. "Our goal is to develop the next generation of leaders through supporting education in our communities, and the SEED program is a great way to help these students jump-start their early career development. This is just one of the many ways Smithfield supports our communities in North Carolina and across the U.S."
"Today's high school students are tomorrow's workforce," said North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper. "Youth apprenticeship programs like the SEED initiative will provide students with an opportunity to learn valuable skills while getting on-the-job training. Our top-tier workforce is the reason North Carolina is ranked the best state for business for two years in a row and we need to ensure they graduate with the necessary skills to be successful in our growing economy."
Smithfield's $1 million donation to NCBCE to support the launch of the SEED initiative is part of the company's continuing investment in North Carolina. So far in 2023, Smithfield has donated $2 million and more than 1 million pounds of food valued at more than $5 million to more than 130 nonprofit organizations in North Carolina that support education, fight hunger, protect soil and water resources and assist U.S. veterans.
Some of the many organizations Smithfield supports in North Carolina include:
NC State Fair Hunger Relief Day
Military Missions in Action
Sampson County YMCA
Food Bank of Central and Eastern North Carolina
Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina
United Way of Sampson County
NC Foundation for Soil & Water Conservation
Sylvan Heights Waterfowl Park and Eco-Center
North Carolina State University
North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University
In addition to its support for local communities in North Carolina, Smithfield provides $2 million to the state every year to fund environmental projects through the North Carolina Department of Justice's Environmental Enhancement Grant program, which began with a voluntary agreement between the Attorney General's Office and Smithfield Foods in 2000.
Through Smithfield's annual funding, the attorney general's office has awarded nearly $43 million to more than 228 environmental projects across North Carolina that have funded the restoration or permanent conservation of more than 31,000 acres of land, wetland restoration, stormwater remediation, stream stabilization and several environmental education and research initiatives.
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