Paid diversity internship programs are out there ready to help you reach your internship and career goals. When searching for internships, many students limit themselves to looking through a few postings online or visiting company websites. For minority or traditionally underrepresented college students, diveristy programs exist to open doors. .
As the former senior manager for the T. Howard Foundation, I am a firm believer in the opportunities diversity internship programs provide. For years, these nonprofit organizations and industry sponsored programs have promoted diversity through internships, professional development and employment opportunities. Unfortunately, every year thousands of eligible students don’t apply for internships through these various organizations because often they don’t know about them.
Why Minority Internship Recruitment Programs Exist
INROADS is on of the oldest minority recruitment organizations around. Frank C Carr, the INROADS founder once said,
“It’s no secret that for years, people of color — Blacks, Hispanic/Latinos, and Native American Indians — were noticeably absent from the ranks of corporate North America. By June of 1970, it was time to make a change.”
As a result, there are now numerous nonprofit minority internship recruitment programs doing similar work across a range of industries. Diversity in the workforce continues to be an issue for Fortune 500 companies, government agencies, on Wall Street, in media, technology and other industries. Internship organizations are working everyday to change that.
These programs have worked for years to forge relationships with some of the most well known companies in the world. As a result, companies want the students coming from these programs because they know they are well prepared to be exceptional interns. So, you can always apply directly to companies on your own (and should), but don’t stop there. Pursue every route possible to land your dream internship.
In the wake of so much that transpired in 2020, companie now more than ever seem to understand the need for diversity. The need and the reality have not been fully realized, by any stretch of the imagination. Even in a year where there seems to be increased awareness, the message isn’t getting through to the top.
Comments from the Chief Executive at Wells Fargo drive home this point. He told staff on a Zoom call, “the bank had trouble reaching diversity goals because there was not enough qualified minority talent“. Ignorant statement like that reinforce why diversity internship organizations and programs must continue to exist, create opportunity and fight to shed light on the talent that is out there in underrepresented communities.
Why Apply to a Minority Internship Program
While the application processes can be lengthy and highly competitive, apply to all of the programs you are eligible for. In addition, these organizations provide professional development support and learning experiences that exten beyond just the internship. Other benefits can include:
- Access to multiple companies with a single application
- Support during and after your internship
- An extensive alumni network
- Networking opportunities
- Job opportunities
- Professional development events
- Paid travel opportunities
No matter your major, there is a program for you. Do your research and connect to an organization. It could be life changing.
My Favorite Minority Internship Programs
- T. Howard Foundation
- Sponsors for Educational Opportunity (SEO)
- Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) – National Internship Program
- Management Leadership for Tomorrow (MLT)
These programs cover everything from media interships, sports, entertainment, Forunte 500 companies, financial firms, law firms, non-profit, consumer goods and more. The deadlines, requirements and program componant for each is different. They all, however, are programs that will provide you with a stepping stone to a career.
Check out the Diversity Internship Directory for a complete listing of internships programs and companies!
Be Ready for the Competition
Competition for these spots is fierce. Be sure that your application materials; including a resume, college transcripts, interview, writing sample and recommendations, are the best representation of you. Get started and finish before the deadlines and you might find yourself with your dream, paid, internship this summer. For help with your resume, check out this free resume template.
If you know of a minority internship program, drop a comment below so that others can apply too. Check out the Diversity Internship Directory and discover a comprehensive listing of companies and organizations across the country that are available today!