Industry-Sponsored Research Week

Programs seek to align industry engagement with corporate desire for inclusion, diversity


By David Schwartz
Published: October 14th, 2019

On the one hand, as universities and industry collaborate on diversity programs, the guiding philosophy appears to be singular: diversity is a clear benefit to the workforce and the companies that employ them, so let’s work together to increase the talent pipeline in ways aimed at securing that benefit. On the other hand, there is no “right way” to accomplish this, and U-I partnerships are becoming more and more creative as they seek to achieve this common goal.

For example, each of the following programs is focused at least in part on underrepresented populations:

  • Howard University and Google have partnered to create opportunities for students to participate in a program in Silicon Valley, being educated and trained not only with their Google partners but with exposure to the entire ecosystem of the area. The program has been so successful it has now been expanded to include other HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) and HSIs (Hispanic-Serving Institutions).
  • The Ohio State University has partnered with JPMorgan Chase & Co. to create the “Morrill Scholars” program, aimed at individuals who have made the world around them better. Chase has invested $2.5 million for five years.
  • Also at Ohio State, seeking an alternative to career days that can help identify diverse candidates for companies, the univeristy has shifted instead to more targeted “boutique” career-oriented meetings.
  • Drexel University has partnered with the City of Philadelphia for an intensive leadership development program.

For Howard and Google, “our shared goals were to get the students proximate, strengthen the relationship created between students and members of the Bay area, create a thriving community in the program, transfer curricula, and increase the number of Blacks in the industry,” says Alycia Onowho, Howard’s Program Director for “Howard West,” the Bay-area outpost which is now known as “Tech Exchange.”

“We’re very public about our diversity numbers. We want to increase representation in the technical workforce,” adds Shameeka Emanuel, Google’s Tech Exchange program lead. “More diversity leads to better performance.”

At Ohio State, “diversity inclusion is part of our DNA; we’ve been doing it even before we thought about it. We had some African-Americans here in the late 1800s,” says James L. Moore III, PhD, the school’s vice provost for diversity and inclusion and chief diversity officer. Despite that proud tradition, Moore notes that the Chase gift underwriting the Morrill Scholars program “is transformative for us. This is the largest corporate gift our department has ever received.”

“From a diversity perspective, as we pull across different units and departments, we spark system change leading to a cross-sector community,” says Kristin M. Risi, MBA, PhD, assistant dean of corporate and executive education in Drexel’s LeBow College of Business, where its leadership development program, called Leading for Change, is run. “Many times, these individuals may have experience from the private sector; they may have been in industry and bring that perspective into the public sector. This may also bring us back to industry through collaborations, so it’s worthwhile to begin the dialogue.”

A detailed article delving into these diversity initiatives appears in the October issue of University-Industry Engagement Advisor. For complete subscription details, CLICK HERE.

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Posted under: University-Industry Engagement Week

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