Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, rapper-turned-actor Common and BET head honcho Debra Lee are teaming up with Coca-Cola for the soda giant’s 2013 “Pay It Forward” campaign to aid in the development of young people through a nationwide apprenticeship program.
All three stars and community leaders will help young adults aged 16 to 21 with career guidance and job shadowing during the summer. The program, now in its second year, will offer four apprenticeship experiences in the fields of business, music, community and media/entertainment.
“It’s a chance for young people to be with us, pick our brains and learn the craft,” Johnson told The Grio on Tuesday. “I want them to understand the professionalism, versatility and hard work. Young people forget we were once their age. We’re still connected to the streets, neighborhoods and communities through the work that we do.”
Common said he wants participants to experience the ups and downs of becoming successful, as well as the hard work and discipline that is essential to achieving a dream.
“I will personally be involved in overseeing the work they do,” he explained. “Beyond music, it’s important for me to reach back and create a legacy bigger than my career.
Anyone can nominate a young person for the “Pay It Forward” apprenticeship at mycokerewards.com through March 2. The program is a partnership with the United Negro College Fund.