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The importance of HBCUs in recruiting early-in-career talent

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Stephanie Chalk
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In a world that seems to grow smaller and more connected every day, the gift of diversity infuses the fabric of human life more than ever before. At NetApp, we are not just a company of products but of people, all working together in the spirit of collaboration. We celebrate the diversity of cultures, traditions, perspectives, and experiences that our employees represent. And we strive to recognize each employee’s individual contributions.

Our employees are our greatest asset. We take pride in attracting, developing, and retaining the very best talent in the industry. Hiring early-in-career talent is an important part of this strategy. And it's an opportunity for us to be intentional in increasing representation by prioritizing our relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).

What NetApp employees are saying

Johnathan Lunsford, a Software Engineer in Test at NetApp, shares that “HBCUs, and precisely my time at North Carolina A&T, was a focal point in my life in pursuing a STEM career. The engineering program is known for producing some of the best and brightest minority leaders, from Ronald McNair to some of the current-day entrepreneurs. Being surrounded by companies that are constantly seeking talent and being in a pool of great candidates who are willing to help one another is the most significant difference that I do not know I would get anywhere else.”

From the beginning, NetApp has worked to build a model company and has embraced a culture of belonging by creating an environment where team members feel that they can bring their whole self to work. Early-in-career talent brings fresh ideas, diverse perspectives, and the latest classroom experience. With nearly 100 HBCUs across 20 states, NetApp recognizes the importance of showing up and investing in the future. Terrell Pinkney, Professional Services Associate, believes that his HBCU provided him with opportunities to network with companies like NetApp to “gain a better understanding of the different job positions, certifications, and projects that are offered by technology companies.”

Breaking down the walls

Let’s continue to celebrate and share the rich heritage of various cultures while promoting understanding so we can break down the walls of fear and ignorance and replace them with knowledge and love.

Anthony Hughes, Customer Success Manager, says that he has had “certain programs and influencers that have helped me be where I am today, as well as to understand the different perspectives that shape different cultures. Coming out of college, I had the privilege of serving the South-Central Los Angeles community and the Atlanta community through an AmeriCorps program that focused on closing the education gap for the country. Being with two great organizations early in my career gave me a good understanding of serving others and being a leader. In a tech-driven world, the idea of serving others through technology is a top priority. Providing students with STEAM [science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics] resources gave me a different perspective on how technology is inspired through creative young minds.”

NetApp’s Global Early in Career (EIC) team recruits, hires, and develops interns and full-time entry-level talent for long-lasting, impactful careers at NetApp. Through strategic partnerships with global organizations and institutions and collaborating with the business’s current and future hiring needs, the EIC team develops critical talent pipelines and facilitates award-winning programs to build the next generation of talent at NetApp. To learn more about our Global EIC programs or would like to get engaged with our talent outreach initiatives, visit our Global Early in Career SharePoint here.

Stephanie Chalk

A purpose driven leader passionate about leading and executing world class recruitment and branding initiatives through innovation and collaboration. At NetApp, we believe your success and our success are inextricably linked - by understanding and helping the business succeed, you succeed. From the time we connect candidates to their dream job throughout their time at NetApp, we unleash employees' diverse passions and talents to help them thrive, do their best work and build a career here. My expertise is in communications, stakeholder engagement, and relationship building coupled with the capacity to assume increasingly significant responsibilities. Proven success in recruiting “best in class” talent, leading and mentoring a strong team, managing key internal and external relationships while exceeding expectations in a fast-paced environment.

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