EAST ST. LOUIS, IL (KTVI) - College tuition continues to increase, but a local group of business owners is offering their help.
Jimmie Williams, owner of an East St. Louis McDonald’s franchise, has joined an effort to make college dreams a reality for local students with scholarship opportunities.
“We came together because education is important,” Williams said. “Opportunity and hope is important, so giving out these scholarships is important in the St. Louis area.”
Local McDonald’s owners partnered with the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) and others to award 24 $3,000 scholarships to African-American high school seniors.
“I’m from East St. Louis, Illinois, in fact…it’s personal,” Williams said.
With college tuition increasing by nearly 80 percent over the last 15 years, many local students have been unable to afford college. But Williams says every little bit helps.
“I grew up three blocks down the street here, so many of the people that you see here I know, and I have a relationship with,” he said.
Williams’ advice for future entrepreneurs? Hard work.
“…I started off working at a McDonald’s like this and I got my education, went off to the Navy…and bought my first restaurant here in the St. Louis area,” he said.
Williams now owns 10 area McDonald’s franchises. He’s taking his success and using it to offer a hand-up for the next generation of would-be businesspeople in the St. Louis region.