Walser & Urban League Partner to Support Black Youth of Tomorrow

MINNEAPOLIS–(BUSINESS WIRE)–#automotive–A new partnership between Walser Automotive Group and Urban League Twin Cities supports young, black leaders of tomorrow. The partnership, funded through the Walser Foundation, is connected to Urban League Twin Cities’ Black Gems program. Black Gems is a college and career readiness program open to Twin Cities students in grades 9-12. The program helps students navigate the transition from teen life to adulthood with a focus on navigating post-secondary training.

Black Gems includes a springtime tour of Historically Black Colleges & Universities, civil rights monuments, and museums. The Walser Foundation partnership will cover fees all 20 program participants this year, totaling $12,000.

“Beyond the financial donation, it is critically important to us that we begin a relationship with this next generation of incredible future leaders,” said Sherry Schultz, Walser’s Chief Human Resources Officer. “We feel strongly about digging earlier and deeper to connect with talented individuals we hope to see in our organization one day very soon.”

In addition to career readiness, Black Gems focuses on training in money management and investing, civics and community service, navigating college admissions, financial aid, and more.

Walser’s partnership comes as the National Automotive Dealers Association (NADA) launches its own initiative with the National Urban League to recruit, train, and hire more women and minorities into the auto retail industry. NADA’s 18-month pilot program will roll out this year.

Schultz described the local Urban League partnership as a natural fit with Walser’s core values and employee experience.

“As a company, we’re highly focused on providing employees with clear career pathing, family-focused benefits, and a diverse and inclusive culture. We’re excited to embrace a community partner who clearly values these things, too,” Schultz said.

Marquita Stephens, Interim CEO and President of Urban League Twin Cities, said the partnership provides Black Gems participants with a blueprint for vetting future employers.

“Walser came to our students in December, ready and excited to present who they are and what they do as a community employer. It set the bar for students on what they should seek and expect from employers in the future,” Stephens said. “We see this partnership as especially beneficial for our college students and Black Gem alumni.”

Walser Automotive Group operates 26 new and preowned dealerships featuring major domestic and luxury brands throughout Minnesota, Kansas, and Illinois.


Dayna Kleve



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