For many young minorities, landing a job in corporate America is dreamed of achievement beyond their reach.
A new partnership with the 100 Black Men of America and INROADS, one of the largest providers of corporate internships, can help make the dream a reality for hundreds of African American young adults.
The initiative, implemented through the 100 Black Men of America's Collegiate 100 Chapters, will provide students from more than 50 Collegiate 100 chaptersthroughout the U.S. with paid internshipand career development opportunities through INROADS.
President and CEO of INROADS, Forest Harper, said that the initiative targets youth who are "underserved" or at a disadvantage not only in climbing the corporate ladder but in simply entering thecorporate workforce. "Underserved to us means any student that is without the mentorship or opportunities that would allow them to get into corporate America." said Harper.
The INROADS program exposes students to a combination of monthly coaching and advice along with online and classroom training combined with a community service component. For more than 40 years, INROADS has offered these resources to the community and currently has nearly 2,000 interns placed with 230 corporations. To date, INROADS has secured over 127,000 students with paid internships. An advantage for INROADS' interns is being connected to its distinguished alumni circle. Students have found a plethora of networking resources through their
Getting connected to INROADS through the 100 Black Men will require diligence on the students' part and a 3.0 grade-point average. Harper said that INROADS does have alternatives for hard-working students who may need extra support.
"Remember that employment is based on the desires of the corporation and what their standards are for success, and part of that is academic achievement. Some of our corporations work with us for students who are under development.
"Somebody may have a 2.8 grade-point average. That doesn't mean that we will turn them away. We will work with them with tutors until we get them to the standards the corporation believes would be successful in the workplace," Harper explained.
The 100 Black Men of America, whose mission focuses on mentoring and preparing students for leadership, viewed this opportunity as a perfect match for what they strive to achieve on a daily basis.
"As part of the 100 Black Men's efforts, we also recognize that we can't just do this work alone," said Curley Dossman, chairman of the National 100 Black Men of America. "The number of African-American youth, especially African-America males, the dropout rate that we've seen, the lack of actual perseverance and matriculation through high school and also through college – in order to get those students to be able to successfully matriculate through high school and college requires a great deal of effort and work."
Dossman added, "An opportunity to collaborate with an organization such as INROADS that has such a long history of working with students and actually placing them and providing them with career opportunities, supports what we are trying to do with our mentoring component and with our education initiative with young people."
Anthony Jeffreys, chairman of the 100 Black Men's Collegiate 100 and who spearheaded the partnership, underscored the importance of indoctrinating Collegiate 100 students to recognize the link between an education and a career. His hope is that INROADS will serve as a "pipeline" in helping the 100 Black Men to develop the next generation of leaders.