On Wednesday evening, 32 local, national and international companies met in the University Center Ballroom for the annual Diversity Recruitment event. Although the companies ranged from public school systems to game design companies to government agencies, each organization shared the same motivation to attend the event: They sought to diversify their workforce.
Organized by the Career Center and National Society of Black Engineers and sponsored by Northrop Grumman and Stanley Black & Decker, the event was centered around the theme of ‘Personal Branding your Professional Trademark.’
Associate Director of the Career Center, Diane Crump-Fogo, lead, facilitated and planned the program along with the help of NSBE students. Crump and the executive board of NSBE worked closely together for months in advance to execute the entire event, including the theme and vision of the program. Crump, Christine Routzahn, Director of the Career Center and Adrian Davey, chemical engineer major, president of NSBE and Meyerhoff Scholar all helped to kick off the event and welcome students and employers.
Directly after the welcoming portion, the networking game was initiated. Students were encouraged to network with as many employers as possible with the goal of obtaining career advice and landing internships with companies. Dinner and keynote speaker, Otis S. Jones of IBM followed the networking game. Jones spoke on the theme of personal branding.
Christine Routzahn believes it is important students have access to diversity in the workforce.
“You want to work for an organization that really reflects the community that we live in. It is easy to hire people who look like yourself, but the organizations that thrive are made up of people from all different backgrounds … I think this event celebrates the importance of diversity in the workforce.”
Baltimore recruitment and Onboarding specialist for Urban Teachers, Alyssa O’Dea was one of many representatives of the 32 companies at the recruitment event. O’Dea said, “We at Urban Teachers believe it is critical that the teaching force reflects the student diversity. This is based on countless different studies that [show that] teachers of color have an incredibly positive impact on students of color. They are more likely to refer students to gifted and talented programs and suspension and expulsion rates drop … We want our teachers to reflect the students we serve.”
Jordon Malcolm, freshman, computer science major and CWIT Scholar, attended the event because she felt like it was a great opportunity for her to be considered for a position, despite identifying as a minority student. Malcolm said, “Companies must diversify the workforce in order to gain a multifaceted perspective on problems that we are faced with on a daily basis.”
As a minority-majority school, UMBC is well known for its strength in diversity. Fifty-five percent of the incoming freshman in the 2016 class are students people of color. Many employers seek to hire UMBC students because they are attracted by the diversity of the school. The event posed as a great opportunity for companies to get the word out that they want to celebrate and embrace the diversity.