TAMPA, Fla.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida) is celebrating Black History Month 2023 with an expanded focus on education, digital literacy, and economic empowerment by partnering with community-based organizations, Florida Black Expo, and the Jim Thorpe Invitational Golf Tournament. Throughout the month, Coke Florida will invest more than $150,000 through laptop donations, computer lab upgrades, and integrated technology training for hundreds of Florida students.
“It’s not just enough for Coke Florida to continue to provide technology access as we have done for several years. We have to step up and play a role in developing the skills and capabilities students need to help close the digital divide which disproportionately impacts traditionally underserved communities. We’re excited to be able to introduce students to Intelligent Automation,” shared Terrence Gee, Senior Vice President, Technology and Enterprise Transformation at Coke Florida.
Intelligent Automation (IA), which includes chatbots, is a trending technology that uses artificial intelligence to help serve online customers. Coke Florida will facilitate hands-on IA training sessions at four Boys and Girls Clubs across the state – Hollywood, Orlando, St. Augustine, and Tampa. Capgemini, a Coke Florida technology services partner, will join the company to offer this training. Coke Florida will make additional technology donations to deserving students in the 18 local territories it serves, representing a total commitment of 300 laptops.
As a sponsor of the Florida Black Expo in Jacksonville, Coke Florida will support the three-day event in bringing cultural awareness to minority-owned businesses and inspiring economic development in underserved Black communities. A top employer in the state, Coke Florida will participate in the event’s Career Fair, recruiting for career opportunities in manufacturing, sales, distribution, warehousing, and professional services.
For a second year, Coke Florida will continue its partnership with United Golfers Association (UGA) as Presenting Sponsor for the Jim Thorpe Invitational Golf Tournament (JTI) at the Omni Orlando Resort at ChampionsGate. UGA, established in 1925, is one of the leading organizations specifically created to increase diversity in golf. Thorpe and several other Black golfers began their careers as members of the association which hosted a series of professional golf tournaments for Black people during racial segregation in the United States.
JTI will be held February 17th – 19th and is slated to draw an estimated 160 elite junior, collegiate, and professional golfers. The tournament features a panel discussion focused on career opportunities in the sport of golf.
Coke Florida’s Group Vice President of Government Relations, Public Affairs, and Communications, Percy L. Wells, II, shared, “Coke Florida is committed to the communities where we live, work and play. During Black History month, our commitment is exemplified through our ongoing work to provide educational opportunities, address the digital divide, and advance the potential for economic empowerment.”
This year brings Coke Florida’s Black History Month investments to more than $650,000.
About Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC
Coca-Cola Beverages Florida, LLC (Coke Florida) is a family-owned Coca-Cola bottler with an exclusive sales and distribution territory that covers over 21 million consumers across 47 Florida counties and includes the major metropolitan markets of Jacksonville, Miami, Orlando, and Tampa. Coke Florida manufactures, sells, distributes, and merchandises over 600 products of The Coca-Cola Company and other partner companies including Monster Energy. Coke Florida is the third largest privately held and the sixth largest Coca-Cola bottler in the United States. Coke Florida is a certified Minority Business Enterprise and was named a U.S. Best Managed Company by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal (Class of 2022). Coke Florida was founded in 2015, is headquartered in Tampa, Florida, and is one of the largest Black-owned businesses in the United States. To learn more, visit www.cocacolaflorida.com.
J. Katrinda McQueen
Vice President, Communications