Major companies are recruiting more HBCU grads than ever before, administrators say
Administrators and career service leaders at some of the nation’s top historically Black colleges and universities, also known as HBCUs, say recruitment of their students and graduates by major corporations has dramatically increased since the police murder of George Floyd more than a year ago.
Public outrage spread globally after the widely viewed video of Floyd’s death at the hands of former officers in Minneapolis circulated in May 2020. That motivated many Fortune 500 companies to do more to improve racial equity in the United States, including bolstering the ranks of Black Americans working in Corporate America.
Since then, HBCU leaders say they’ve been flooded with millions of dollars in donations from major companies as well as billionaire philanthropists like MacKenzie Scott, Michael Bloomberg and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
The schools’ leaders caution that it’s too early to say with certainty how many more Black college graduates are actually getting hired by major companies, but so far they’ve seen a substantial rise in the number of internships and job interviews provided by major brands.
“In my 24-year career in higher education, all in career services, I cannot recall a time when recruitment efforts at HBCUs have been this high and have stayed this high,” said Seana Coulter, director of the center for career development at Morgan State University, an HBCU in Baltimore.
She says MSU’s online job portal for students saw a 263% increase in employer logins between July 1, 2020, and June 30, 2021, with major companies like Apple (AAPL), Bank of America (BAC) and Estee Lauder reaching out for the first time ever.
“We had a 73% increase in the numbers of events hosted by employers over the same period of time,” Coulter said. “We saw a surge in organizations wishing to recruit from Morgan’s campus all stating they were diversifying their workforce. The surge has not stopped. It’s just been a constant flow ever since it’s started. I would say it’s been record numbers.
“Coulter also began serving as co-chair of the National Association of Colleges & Employers’ HBCU affinity group in January of 2020 before stepping down in July. She says most of the group’s estimated 130 members, who serve as administrators and career service staffers at a wide swath of the nation’s 107 HBCUs, have seen a sharp rise in corporate engagement and outreach over the last year.”
All of us were talking about how we could best handle the volume,” Coulter said. “One of the biggest conversations has been how can we connect them better with the academic departments.”
At Howard University, career outreach from major corporations has increased “100%” over the last year, according Debbi Jarvis, the school’s senior vice president of corporate relations.
“It’s doubled,” Jarvis told CNN Business earlier this month. “They actually want to engage with students, even virtually, to increase their pipeline and be deliberate about it.
Howard says JPMorgan Chase (JPM), Deloitte, Procter & Gamble (PG), Goldman Sachs and McKinsey & Co. rank among the top 25 companies that recruit at the university. That list also includes Accenture (ACN), Microsoft (MSFT), Facebook (FB), Apple and Google (GOOG), which has a tech partnership with the school.