Scholarship program with 10 schools pays for a master’s degree, internship and help finding Fortune 500 jobs
It’s no surprise that the lack of diversity in the professional workforce is a common problem.
A quick internet search will unearth countless studies confirming that women and minorities, especially African-Americans, are underrepresented across most industries. Although there are thousands of qualified African-Americans in all fields, many companies maintain that they are eager to hire African-Americans but candidates are hard to find.
It’s something that Jason Wingard, professor and dean of Columbia University’s School of Professional Studies, immediately noticed and still finds troubling. Wingard decided to turn the experience into a positive one for certain students from historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) through a Columbia University scholarship program with a $100,000 value. For the first time this summer, Columbia is opening its doors to two students from each of the top 10 HBCUs as ranked by The Wall Street Journal.
The chosen students will get the opportunity to earn a one-year master’s degree from their choice of 40 programs of study and 14 areas of discipline. They’ll also receive access to industry mentors, career coaches and Columbia’s alumni network, followed by a paid summer internship and the possibility of a job offer from one of the program’s 11 Fortune 500 partners.
“As an African-American male myself, it’s disheartening to hear corporations say we can’t find qualified African-Americans to come and work at our companies,” Wingard said. “And I would say, well, there are plenty of African-Americans who are going to college, who are doing well in their studies, who are ripe candidates for what you’re looking for. The problem becomes either those companies don’t know where to look, or when they do know where to look, they’re not able to articulate why they are interested in this particular population and how they are adjusting their cultures to be responsive to the employees’ needs.”
Continue onto The Undefeated to read more about this fellowship and the participating colleges.