Making the Right Partnerships for Successful Recruitment of Multicultural Talent

At a time when U.S. ethnic demographics are changing so fast, diversification in the workforce must also change — effectively and immediately. The U.S. Census Bureau reports that more than 30 percent of Americans belong to ethnic minority groups and recruitment of diverse talent in the advertising, marketing and public relations industries must be a priority.

An effective way to increase diversity is through college and university partnerships and to have a presence at ethnically diverse colleges that offer programs in the fields of advertising, marketing, and public relations. This can be very valuable, but the trick is to know which schools to target.

At the University of Washington, for example, 33 percent of all undergraduate students are ethnic minorities. Historically Black Colleges, like Howard University, also provide strong partnerships. Target diverse cities and partner with those schools. Take Austin, Texas for instance — it’s a diverse city and it’s no surprise that Latinos make up 18.5 percent of the student body at the University of Texas at Austin. The California State University system is the largest public university system in the nation and has the largest diversity population. Ways to maintain partnerships with schools include: participating in career fairs, speaking engagements, sponsoring industry-related student groups (like the Undergraduate Marketing Association at UC Berkeley) or hosting student events like career development workshops and panel discussions.

Educational groups make effective partners as well. These include groups like the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, the United Negro College Fund, or the Public Relations Student Society of America, which has an annual conference where employers can meet students and build a list of potential interns and employees. The LAGRANT Foundation (TLF), which I founded 12 years ago, also provides an excellent partnership opportunity to employers. Our internship placement program involves partnering with public relations and advertising agencies as well as some of the Fortune 500 corporations to fill their internship positions with ethnic minority students. TLF responds to students’ needs for internships and meets companies’ needs for a diverse team — it’ a win-win situation proving the power of strong partnerships for multicultural recruitment.

Submitted by Kim L. Hunter. Kim is the founder/chairman of The LAGRANT Foundation, a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) organization whose mission is to increase the number of ethnic minorities in the fields of advertising, marketing and public relations. He is also the founder and President/CEO of LAGRANT COMMUNICATIONS, an integrated marketing communications agency targeting the African American and Hispanic consumer markets.

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5 Responses to “Making the Right Partnerships for Successful Recruitment of Multicultural Talent”

  1. Danielle English says:

    As a two-time recipient of a TLF scholarship, I wanted to leave a quick comment to support Kim and what he’s saying. The LAGRANT Foundation has been hugely supportive of me and my future, and I think it’s precisely these kinds of organizations that are leading the way to ensure a diverse workforce in our field. Partnering with schools and reaching out to diverse students is important to continue to ensure diversity.

    Likewise, I think it’s critical for students to seek out these opportunities. I stumbled upon The LAGRANT Foundation scholarship program in a book at the library about scholarships. Without support from organizations like this I don’t know that I could have afforded college and joined the industry.

    Now, I’m happy to say that I have my Master’s in Public Relations and am working for a firm in California. Congratulations to all of this year’s scholarship winners – and thank you to people like Kim Hunter and all of the others working to ensure diversity!

  2. Priscilla Martinez says:

    I am genuinely thankful and awed by your commitment to diversity through: Funding Dreams into Reality. As a scholarship recipient I want to thank you and The LAGRANT Foundation for the desire to extend a hand to minority students in these fields. It was great meeting you http://i23.photobucket.com/albums/b368/chillywilly16/DSC00168.jpg

    -Priscilla Martinez

  3. Heather F says:

    We have partnered with TLF for 5+ years now and it is such a great partnership. It is absolutely a win win for both – the perfect example of a true partnership. Kim has done an outstanding job building visibility and partners through the TLF and the kids that win the scholarships are just outstanding individuals that will be strong leaders in the PR industry in the future.

  4. Erica Smith says:

    I agree that partnering with colleges and universities with diverse populations is a great way to find fresh talent with innovative ideas and the ability to positively impact organizations. Maintaining a diverse workforce is not only ethically-sound, but it has proven to be profitable for organizations time and time again. Therefore, I really appreciate the work that The LAGRANT Foundation and similar organizations are doing to increase diverse representation in marketing, advertising, and PR. As a student at Howard University in Washington, DC, I am especially grateful that many organizations are interested in the talent we have here.

    Erica Smith
    BBA Marketing 2011
    Howard University
    2010 LAGRANT Foundation
    Scholarship Recipient

  5. Eleanor Aguilar says:

    I am familiar with the LA GRANT Foundation’s work and have witness the impact that they have providing access and support to multicultural students in the advertising, marketing and public relations industries.

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