By WVUA 23 Web Coordinator David Williams III
Their mission is to ensure the inclusion of women and minorities, so they started the Historically Black Colleges and Universities initiative.
Nationwide, there are 105 historically black colleges and universities. The state of Alabama ranks first with 15, including Tuscaloosa’s Stillman College.
The mission of the Office of Minority Affairs is to ensure the inclusion of women and minorities. Nearly two years ago, the Office of Minority Affairs created an economic agenda with three initiatives: the women and minority initiative, the child hunger initiative, and the Alabama HBCU initiative.
Nichelle Nix, the director of the Office of Minority Affairs, said one of the goals of the initiative is to strengthen the relationship between the HBCUs and the state. They also aim to create a pipeline between HBCUs and some of the largest companies, industries and non-profits in the state.
This plan has been worked on since last year, when HBCU presidents were invited to Montgomery for a summit to discuss the co-op.This would give HBCU students the chance to get work training, get paid and learn at the same time.
“We see it as a win-win-win. It’s a win for students because they are able to gain that work experience and exposure while they’re learning and earning a salary,” said Nichelle Nix, Director of the Office of Minority Affairs. “It’s a win for HBCUs because it’s forming partnerships that are either new or never been thought of between the HBCUs or and certain companies in the state and its a win for the state because they’re retaining this diverse talent pool within the state of Alabama.”
Stillman College President Cynthia Warrick agreed. She took over the struggling college in 2017. She said with all the growth in the state, this would give HBCU students and new incoming students an incentive.
“That’s very important because you need some type of incentive,” said Warrick. “Its very positive when the governor’s office says to the industry, we want you to partner with HBCUs and provide these employment opportunities for their students and their graduates.”
According to Gov. Kay Ivey, the jobs are here.
“The large number of jobs that we’ve created and attracted some 12,000 and attracted $5 billion in new investments and announced that Toyota-Mazda will be coming so, we’ve had a lot of good news,” Ivey said.
This program begins this fall.