Diversity in Boeing’s workforce and partnerships with minority institutions and historically black colleges and universities have the company in a strong position as it begins its second century. That is the message Ted Colbert, Boeing’s chief information officer, shared during a conference with members of the U.S. Congress, industry representatives and presidents and chancellors of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU).
Boeing employs more than 8,500 alumni of HBCUs, more than 225 of whom are Boeing executives, according to company data, and partners with more than 28 HBCUs and minority institutions in 14 U.S. states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico.
“Boeing strongly believes the best workforce is a diverse workforce, and we work hard to attract and retain the best, diverse talent across our enterprise,” Colbert said during a panel discussion moderated by U.S. lawmakers.
The event came two days before the start of Boeing’s annual Diversity & Inclusion Summit. The 15th annual summit brings together employees, managers and executives to learn how to strengthen diversity and inclusion around the company.
Boeing partners with HBCUs and minority institutions in support of recruitment, charitable donations, continuing education for employees, internships for current students, and research and development contracts. Colbert noted the company has hired more than 1,800 graduates of HBCUs during the past four years alone, emphasizing the importance of ongoing campus recruiting, mentoring and active engagement with partner schools and the communities they serve.
As HBCUs look to increase their engagement with U.S. employers for the future and best prepare the next generation of innovators, Colbert stressed the importance of data science across all disciplines and students’ ability to analyze, lead and work together as a team.
“One only needs to look at the number of HBCU alumni working at Boeing to know what a critical part of the company’s fabric our relationships with HBCUs are,” Colbert said. “Because of these well-qualified employees who received a great education from HBCUs, Boeing is a stronger company than it has ever been as we enter our second century.”
By Kate Bernard