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UK Athletics Announces Innovative Partnership with Cintas Corporation

by Jake Most

LEXINGTON, Ky. – The University of Kentucky Athletics Department and Cintas Corporation have entered an innovative partnership through UK’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion division, providing minority athletes with access, career opportunities and world-class professional experiences.

The partnership’s primary objective is for UK Athletics and Cintas to provide high-achieving college graduates opportunities in the company’s world-class management trainee program, providing an opportunity pipeline between the two organizations.
 
UK and Cintas have uniquely aligned abilities to launch the best and brightest student-athletes into prominent careers following their success as athletics competitors.
 
“This partnership between UK Athletics and Cintas is a great opportunity to celebrate the coming together of two of Lexington’s most visible brands,” UK Athletics Hall of Famer, Olympic Medalist and current Senior Academic Advisor Passion Richardson said. “Together we are committed to providing access and creating a career path for UK’s student-athletes, supporting local charities, and building relationships in the communities in which we work.”
 
The partnership will bring learning opportunities for graduates and will also touch current student-athletes while they are enrolled at Kentucky.
 
“We seek to provide opportunities for access, education, listening and learning here at Kentucky,” said Rock Oliver, UK Executive Associate Athletics Director for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. “Community is important to us at UK, so to have a world-class partner such as Cintas, headquartered just up the road in Cincinnati, is a great fit for us and our elite student-athletes.”
 
A key component of the partnership will include the Cintas Learning and Development Team providing seminars for UK freshmen and sophomores as well as a formalized mentorship program.

Community-service initiatives will enhance charitable efforts, including sports camps, increasing access and learning for underrepresented communities, and a partnership with Habitat for Humanity to improve access to affordable housing to strengthen the communities UK Athletics and Cintas serve.
 
The UK Athletics’ DEI division prioritizes facilitating educational and professional opportunities for underrepresented communities.
 
“Both UK Athletics and Cintas are committed increasing opportunity and education around diversity, equity and inclusion,” said Courtney Love, Kentucky Football Director of Player Development and UK Athletics Diversity Advocacy Committee Co-Chair. “Our student-athletes have an incredible array of experience and accomplishments to bring to the professional world after their playing days conclude. We are beyond excited to help launch UK student-athletes to success through this program, with Cintas providing opportunities to some of the best student-athletes in the country.”
 
Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, Cintas Corporation provides highly specialized products and services, ranging from independent auto repair shops to large hotel chains, to more than one million customers.
 
Cintas is an industry leader in supplying corporate identity uniform programs, providing entrance and logo mats, restroom supplies, promotional products, first aid, safety, and fire protection products and services. Cintas operates nearly 500 facilities in North America — including five manufacturing facilities and eleven distribution centers.
 
The UK DEI division also oversees UK Athletics’ partnership with the John McLendon Minority Leadership Initiative, which Men’s Basketball Head Coach John Calipari helped spearhead in summer 2020.
 
In the first year of the MMLI program offering access and opportunity to young future leaders at UK and other Universities, Ro Rhodes earned a job with the Charlotte Hornets, Ceasar Adim got a position at UMBC Athletics and Victor Ren was hired as a designer with the Oklahoma City Thunder
 
Two more Future Leaders, Erica Hanserd and Marcos Gonzales, returned a second year at Kentucky.
 
Going forward, UK will continue to unveil class-leading opportunities with industry leaders across the corporate world, in higher education and in community leadership spaces.
 

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