Penn Entertainment expands STEM scholarships to new HBCUs
| By Robin Harrison
Land-based and mobile gaming operator Penn Entertainment has expanded its Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) scholarship programme to three Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in the US.
Mississippi’s Jackson State University, Prairie View A&M University in Texas and Louisiana’s Southern University and A&M College are now participating in Penn Entertainment’s ESG initiative.
Launched in November 2021, Penn committed more than $4m to STEM scholarships for students at HBCUs in states where it operates. Participants also gain access to internships.
Virginia’s Norfolk State University; Maryland’s Bowie State University and Wilberforce University in Ohio were the first participating colleges and universities.
The scholarships and internship opportunities build on Penn Entertainment’s partnerships with 35 HBCUs across the US.
Diversity and inclusion efforts
In addition, Penn runs a $1m Diversity Scholarship Programme for children of its employees. Launched in 2020, 47 recipients benefited from the scheme in 2022.
The operator also formed a diversity committee in 2020, reporting into chief executive Jay Snowden.
Its diversity efforts increase opportunities on offer for under-represented demographics, and increase participation in its Leadership Excellence at Penn Entertainment (LEAP) Programme.
Justin Carter, senior vice-president of regional operations for Penn and chair of the diversity committee, said the scholarships would increase access to STEM opportunities. Those involved will benefit from “real-world, hands-on learning experiences”, he said.
Penn Entertainment also talked up the importance of STEM to its present and future, as a leading technology business. Alongside its land-based operation, it runs a mobile sports betting and gaming business stretching across North America.
“The addition of these three esteemed universities deepens our widespread support for HBCUs and expands our efforts to champion diversity, equity and inclusion in the communities where we operate,” Carter explained.
“STEM careers make up a growing share of jobs in today’s economy and we are committed to narrowing the representation gap in STEM fields and empowering students in this programme for years to come.”