Sometimes our identities play a part in opportunity and choices as we move through our careers. Being comfortable in a specific field, access to opportunities, being able to freely be who you are in the workplace and more, it is important to understand diversity and inclusion issues, and how to navigate any barriers and advocate for yourself throughout your career. It’s important to know how to research companies for their commitment to diversity initiatives, how to find resources and opportunities.
There are a variety of resources to help you make career decisions, find jobs, and decide what is right for you.
- Check out websites and events from professional associations, who offer publications, training, and even scholarships and internship opportunities. There are multiple associations directly related to groups and identities.
- Refer to resources to help you find companies who really live their diversity mission to identify companies which match your values and needs (see list below).
- Connect to identity focused offices, organizations, and centers—often, you only really start to connect to and understand your identity in your late teens. Being around people who understand that identity development, or are potentially in the same development stages, can really help to answer questions, determine your sense of self, and have confidence in who you are.
- Pursue the things you are interested in and good at, regardless of what others think about your ability to perform that work (while being realistic about your skills).
- Break through the barriers to help pave the path for those who follow you—as underrepresented populations gain more representation in each field, it will make it that much easier for others to achieve the same heights.
Advice for Students from Underrepresented Populations:
Statistically, people from underrepresented populations will have more challenges getting into college, completing their degrees, and getting a job after college (or in general, if college is not for you). You can beat these odds. Use the many resources available to you for help—find your school’s identity centers (places specifically geared towards particular identities—multicultural centers, LGBTQIA centers, Black culture centers, women’s centers, etc.), connect with teachers or faculty for advice, ask questions, participate in clubs and organizations to help you to get experience and foundational information, and again, know your own worth.
There are a variety of professional organizations specifically for marginalized populations, and they offer advice, education, mentoring and often job and internship opportunities which help you break through some of those hiring barriers. You’ll find these laid out for you here in the various sections related to specific populations.
Scholarships exist for students from underrepresented populations. It’s important to research and vet your options before you give them your personal information, but there are many options with criteria like race, gender identity, sexual identity, intended major, and more.
RESOURCES FOR ALL UNDEREPRESENTED STUDENTS:
There are many organizations and programs out there to assist students in finding information, internships, jobs, mentors and professional networks. Below are just a few of your options. Some are specifically related to a particular industry, and some are more broad in nature, but if you search, you will find a bunch of useful information.
- Gates Millennium Scholars Program– This program was established by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to provide outstanding students (African American, American Indian/Alaska Natives, Asian Pacific Islander Americans, and Hispanic Americans) with an undergraduate college education, no matter what their major field of study, and to fund graduate studies in the areas of education, engineering, library science, mathematics, or science.
- SEO| SEO’s mission is to place underrepresented students of color into paid summer internships. SEO places interns in banking, private equity, corporate leadership, law, non-profit and other business sectors. Students receive competitive pay, rigorous training, support through mentors, and broad access to full-time professionals and industry leadership.
Provides tools, resources, and training at the intersection of art and activism.
- Professional Diversity Network
Offers career resources for military, women, Black, Asian, Out and differently abled individuals.
- Howard Foundation| The T. Howard Foundation is an internship program for minority students interested in the multimedia and entertainment industry. In addition to a full-time paid summer internship, it also provides interns with networking opportunities, professional development training, scholarships, and mentors.
- IMDiversity.com--a hub of information and resources regarding graduate/professional schools, industry reports and studies, diversity issues and extracurricular activities.
Job board: https://jobs.imdiversity.com/about_us
- Jopwell career advancement for Black, Latinx, and Native American students
RESOURCES FOR FINDING INCLUSIVE WORKPLACES
Especially now, workplaces have a variety of diversity statements, mission statements and spoken values that are available for viewing on their websites, commercials, and in other public venues. However, how much do these organizations really live out those words in their actions, their representation of diversity in their leadership and power holders, and their treatment of their employees of diverse backgrounds? These resources can help you identify those employers who live up to their public image.
- Diversity and Inclusion Index- Designed to measure the relative performance of companies against factors that define diverse and inclusive workplaces
- Career Coaching Services
RESOURCES FOR CORPORATE DIVERSITY INITIATIVES
Often, companies will create early exposure programs or internship/leadership development programs specifically geared towards students of underrepresented populations. Open to diverse students, they offer leadership development education, exposure to a specific field or industry, some hands-on experience, networking and mentoring options, and usually an opportunity for fast-tracking in a full-time job process after participation. Here are just a few examples of these programs.