This year, the T. Howard Foundation held its 20th Annual Diversity Awards Dinner, a milestone event. The foundation has come a long way with its mission of diversity, developing into a resource for the multimedia and entertainment industry via our comprehensive internship program for minority college students. We are committed to providing the best and brightest diverse talent to the industry — multiethnic young men and women with a strong desire for a career in multimedia and entertainment. With incredible support from our board of directors and host companies, the number of internship opportunities has increased to more than 100 per year for the last two years.
Now, we’re adding a new goal to our mission — helping the industry fill full-time, permanent positions with qualified diverse candidates. We’ve been dabbling in this for the past few years, placing 18 to 25 students into full-time positions, all the while learning more about the industry’s needs. This year, it was our turn to take the next step: Design and develop a formal program that taps our database of alumni who interned in the industry and meet the requirements of companies eager to fill positions with diverse talent.
The timing couldn’t be better. The industry’s growth in multicultural markets has been phenomenal, partly in response to considerable increases in programming designed for diverse audiences. Some of the most popular programs on television boast a diverse cast. As the public becomes more accepting of diversity in every way, that’s reflected in programming.
And the match to our mission couldn’t be better. After 20 years of placing diverse interns in the industry, we have a database of hundreds of talented, diverse alumni to draw from. And we can find talent across the broad spectrum of business functions .
More than 1,000 students apply to T. Howard each year . They represent the best diverse talent available, and we take pride in preparing them for an incredible career. As the industry continues to take steps toward diversity and inclusion, our goal is to ensure our candidates meet industry expectations.
If we are going to commit to diversity and inclusion, it must be represented across the industry. If diversity has helped grow the industry in one arena, why not let it continue to positively impact the industry in another? We all know the statistics tracking viewers and subscribers tell us that every group with every interest from sports to food trucks is watching, and therefore supporting, this incredible industry.
During Diversity Week, we will meet with HR representatives of our current host companies to introduce them to our new-hire initiative, and answer any questions they may have .
It’s a win-win! The next time you think about filling an entry level position, think of a T. Howard intern who has gained industry knowledge through one or two internships and knows exactly what is expected.
Josephine Pamphile is president and CEO of the T. Howard Foundation.