Coca-Cola is kicking off Black History Month by paying it forward to the next generation of African-American leaders.

Steve Harvey

Steve Harvey

Coca-Cola has teamed up with comedian and television/radio personality Steve Harvey for this year’s Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program, which awards two deserving young people with apprenticeship experiences. The entertainer has mentored many young African-American men through the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation.

The program is a way for Coca-Cola to celebrate Black History Month by recognizing both African-American historical successes and also current and future achievements. By providing apprenticeship experiences, young people are inspired to fulfill their dreams and ambitions while also paying it forward to their communities.

Parents and others who know an inspiring young person between the ages 16 to 21 are encouraged to nominate him or her by March 15 for one of two apprenticeships. Not only will they receive the life-changing experience of working with Harvey, but also they will receive a $5,000 scholarship for future educational pursuits.

"The Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program and the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation have a common goal. We want to improve, enrich, uplift and inspire young people," Harvey said.

Pay It Forward logo

The apprenticeships focus on philanthropy and community as well as media and entertainment. Young people will have the opportunity to work with Harvey and his team behind the scenes of one of his entertainment affiliations. These youth also will contribute to the Steve and Marjorie Harvey Foundation mentoring camps.

In its third year, the Coca-Cola Pay It Forward program has offered a number of exclusive apprenticeship opportunities. Past winners have worked with Grammy Award-winners, philanthropists, fashion designers, and CEOs of entertainment  companies to gain valuable exposure to amazing career paths.

Coca-Cola is encouraging everyone to pay it forward, either by nominating someone for the apprenticeship, becoming a mentor or allowing a teen to shadow you at work for the day. Share your experience on Twitter with hashtag #CokePayItForward.