Scholars Program to Improve Workplace Diversity

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Indianapolis-based WellPoint Foundation Inc. and United Negro College Fund Foundation have launched a nationwide scholars program to improve workplace diversity. The program places 15 college students in paid internships for two years. October 2, 2014

News Release

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- UNCF (United Negro College Fund) and WellPoint Foundation have announced the launch of the UNCF/WellPoint Corporate Scholars Program, a nationwide initiative aimed to address diversity in the workplace. The $270,000 program will place 15 college students in eight-week paid internships each year for two years.

“Often, the biggest barrier for minorities seeking entry to a field is the lack of a clear opportunity and the difficulty of building a network of connections,” said Andrea Neely, UNCF Regional Development Director. “We are thrilled to partner with WellPoint to help minority students gain the professional experience they need for successful careers, and hope that by continuing this initiative over time we can have a significant impact on diversity in healthcare, making the field more representative of the United States.”

WellPoint will provide selected candidates with eight-week paid internships during the summers of 2015, 2016, 2017 and 2018 and they will receive a $5,000 scholarship for each year they participate in the program. The internships will be offered at various WellPoint business locations throughout the country and will be designed to provide students with hands on experience, working side by side with WellPoint business leaders where students will have the opportunity to develop and strengthen their skill set to better prepare and position them for employment upon graduation.

“We know that in today’s changing health care landscape it will be critical for companies to have a workforce that represents the diversity of the consumers they serve,” said Karin Sarratt, vice president, human resources for WellPoint. “Through this internship program we want to help prepare the next generation of health care leaders who understand the unique needs of health care consumers across the country and can continue to work towards closing health disparity gaps.”

UNCF, which has nearly 20 years of experience in creating pipeline programs for diverse students of color, is providing crucial leadership in selection of Scholars of this initiative. This includes: student outreach and recruitment; application management; implementation of the professional development and career readiness conferences; access to career coaches and career placement assistance; and tracking of student activities and professional development after participation.

Additionally, two years ago, UNCF took over the administration of the Gateway to Leadership (GTL) program, a pipeline program designed to increase the number of minorities who pursue professional management careers in the financial service industry. In the first cohort administered under UNCF leadership, all 15 participants secured employment in the financial services industry, resulting in a 100 percent placement rate.

“Through this new UNCF/WellPoint Corporate Scholars Program we aim to achieve similar results that we have actualized in creating a pipeline program designed to increase the number of minorities who pursue professional management careers in the financial service industry,” said Taliah Givens, Executive Director, UNCF Professional Development Programs.

Source: WellPoint Foundation Inc.