– Ferguson-based Emerson Electric Co. partners with UMSL to offer scholarships for Ferguson-Florissant, Normandy, Jennings, Hazelwood, Riverview Gardens and Ritenour graduates next fall –


By Daniel C. Hodges, Staff Writer for The Current

Local company Emerson is beginning a partnership with the University of Missouri–St. Louis to offer scholarships to graduates of local high schools next fall semester.

The Emerson Community Scholarship Program (ECSP) will be offering $5,000 annual scholarships ($2,500 per semester) to graduates of “the Ferguson-Florissant, Normandy, Jennings, Hazelwood, Riverview Gardens and Ritenour school districts,” according to Associate Vice Chancellor- Communications Bob Samples. These scholarships will be available to new, incoming freshmen from these school districts, or transfer students who previously graduated from them.  Samples also noted a supplemental scholarship will be offered to existing UMSL students who wish to mentor the ECSP recipients. Those student mentors are eligible for annual $2,000 scholarships ($1,000 per semester).

According to the “St. Louis Business Journal,” Emerson has committed $1.5 million over five years to the scholarship program.  These funds are equal to what Emerson previously donated directly to UMSL said the “Springfield News-Leader.”

According to an Emerson press release, the ECSP will offer 30 annual scholarships, focusing on students studying business, science, technology, engineering or math-related fields.  Other disciplines will be considered as well. The scholarship program is part of a new effort by Emerson to support the Ferguson community called Ferguson Forward.  Ferguson Forward has four main points of focus: “Early childhood education, youth jobs, scholarships for college, technical and trade careers, [and] business development training.”  In addition to the 30 UMSL scholarships, Ferguson Forward is investing $750,000 toward supporting youth employment programs through MERS Goodwill and STL Youth Jobs, the latter of whom will be able to expand into St. Louis County for the first time as reported in the “Springfield News-Leader.”  Ferguson Forward has also committed $1.75 million in scholarships over five years to Ranken Technical College for Ferguson-area students to study technical and trade skills.  According to the “Springfield News-Leader,” overall, Emerson has committed a total of $4.4 million “for scholarships and youth employment efforts in Ferguson and the area around the town.”

Emerson was unaffected by the recent unrest in Ferguson. In an interview with “Fortune” magazine, Emerson spokesperson Mark Polzin said that the company was being run under standard operating procedures, and that they were in communication with authorities to ensure their continued safety. The shooting of Michael Brown happened on August 9, the unrest in Ferguson took place for approximately two weeks afterwards, and Emerson’s Ferguson Forward initiative was announced on September 18. How much the recent trouble in Ferguson had to bear on the development of Ferguson Forward is unknown.

Emerson Electric is a “Fortune” 500 (ranked 121) global manufacturing company headquartered in Ferguson, Missouri. Founded in 1890 by Charles and Alexander Meston and John Wesley Emerson in St. Louis, Emerson Electric began moving its operations to Ferguson in the 1940s, according to Fortune magazine. Today, Emerson Electric employs approximately 132,000 people worldwide (approx. 1,300 in Ferguson) and has revenues of approximately $24.7 billion.  Emerson stock rose 9 cents the day Ferguson Forward was announced and opened 34 cents higher the following day.

© The Current 2014