In December 2005, The Food Industry Leadership Center (FILC) at Portland State University received a generous contribution from the PepsiCo Foundation to create a diversity component in the Center’s operations. The diversity initiative produced from this funding is called "Pathways to the Future". With additional support from Costco, Fred Meyer, and WAFC, the five-year old Pathways program has been building a pipeline of diverse graduates for the food industry. Pathways is a great example of aligning industry needs to help meet student goals. With generous support from Precision Castpart Corporation and UPS, the program will expand this year to include students across the School of Business.
By partnering with regional high schools, community colleges, and established organizations that serve a youth population, the program has demonstrated success in increasing awareness and career opportunities in the food retail industry for students from diverse ethnic/racial backgrounds and low socio-economic households. Through these efforts, Pathways has made tremendous progress increasing diversity in PSU’s student population in food management, along with raising awareness among PSU students and faculty of diversity issues within the industry.
Rahel Yared, the driving force behind Pathways’ successful efforts during the past five years, has been promoted to Director of Diversity, and will lead the expansion of the program to all majors. Rahel spearheaded efforts in recruitment, retention, advising, scholarships, and outreach to potential employers for internships and employment opportunities. Aside from preparing Pathways’ quarterly reports, she is responsible for successfully cultivating strong partnerships with local community colleges, high schools and the Portland Metro communities. Rahel graduated from Portland State University with a degree in Information Systems and Marketing and a certificate in Food Industry Leadership.