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.