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Bipartisan HBCU Caucus Announces New Additions to Landmark HBCU Partnership Challenge

Mar 6, 2019
Press Release

WASHINGTON, DC– Today, ahead of the 2nd Annual HBCU STEAM Day of Action, the Bipartisan Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) Caucus announced the addition of Airbnb, Spotify, Wells Fargo, SAS, Ally Financial, Live Oak Bank, Microsoft and Adtalem into its landmark HBCU Partnership Challenge.  The Challenge is now compromised of 21 national entities, each committed to working together to forge stronger, more strategic partnerships with our nation’s 102 HBCUs. 


The Bipartisan HBCU Caucus launched the HBCU Partnership Challenge in 2017. Challenge participants have made a commitment to incorporate HBCUs within their diversity and inclusion efforts.  Each quarter, Challenge participants convene with HBCUs and Members of Congress to discuss best practices for supporting HBCUs and building a well-prepared and diverse workforce.


Challenge participants will announce their acceptance of the HBCU Partnership Challenge at tomorrow’s 2nd Annual HBCU STEAM Day of Action on Capitol Hill.   This year’s STEAM Day will bring together a record number of HBCU presidents and administrators, industry leaders, and key Members of Congress. STEAM Day will allow this broad, bipartisan coalition to advocate for HBCU priorities and work together to craft the best practices for diversifying America’s workforce.


“North Carolina is home to the most HBCUs in the nation. These institutions contribute more than $2 billion annually to our state economy and they produce 42% of Black engineers nationwide. As North Carolina looks to become a tech hub, it is imperative that HBCUs have equal access to growing opportunities at home.  That is why I founded the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus and why we launched the HBCU Partnership Challenge,” said Congresswoman Alma S. Adams. Addressing the nearly 200 years of systemic inequity that these schools have faced requires a collective approach between industry, government, and HBCUs.  I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues, our schools and Partnership Challenge participants to level the playing field for HBCUs and their students.


“HBCUs play an important role in educating America’s next generation of leaders,” said Senator Perdue. “By creating strategic partnerships between HBCU’s and the business community, we will keep students engaged, provide more mentorship, and ultimately build a more diverse and qualified workforce. Opportunities like HBCU STEAM Day get us closer to that goal. I’m proud to work with my colleagues on the Bipartisan Congressional HBCU Caucus to highlight the accomplishments of HBCUs in Georgia and across the country.”


“SAS CEO Jim Goodnight refers to education as the engine of economic growth. By providing free STEM education resources to universities, SAS is preparing the next generation of innovators for college, work and success in the 21st century. We are proud to join the HBCU Partnership Challenge and amplify our commitment to create a more diverse STEM workforce,” said Danielle Pavliv, Diversity & Inclusion Manager.


“Live Oak Bank proudly supports the HBCU Partnership Challenge in order to put a brighter spotlight on inclusion, diversity, equity and awareness. It is proven that diverse companies have powerful advantages and we applaud the HBCU Caucus for creating a landscape where American businesses are encouraged to expand mindsets and foster change,” said Live Oak Bank Chairman and CEO Chip Mahan.


“Wells Fargo has a long history of engagement with Historically Black Colleges and Universities and partner organizations, including the United Negro College Fund and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF).  For the last several years, Wells Fargo has been the title sponsor of TMCF’s annual conference in Washington, DC.  We are pleased to accept the HBCU Partnership Challenge to continue our commitment to these important institutions and help create tomorrow’s diverse and talented workforce,” said David Moskowitz, Executive Vice President and Head of Wells Fargo Government Relations and Public Policy.  


"Spotify is honored to join the Bipartisan HBCU Caucus’s HBCU Partnership Challenge and today's HBCU STEAM Day of Action.  We believe that diversity of experience, perspectives and background, lead to a better environment for everyone.  We understand the value of HBCUs and are committed to building lasting partnerships and hiring cutting-edge students from these universities,” said Tom Manatos, Vice President of Government Relations.


“Workforce diversity isn’t just the right thing to do, it’s imperative to the economic health of the nation,” said Lisa Wardell, president and CEO of Adtalem and the only African-American female CEO in the S&P MidCap 400 Index. “HBCUs have always been, and continue to be, absolutely critical to the diverse workforce in our nation. Adtalem’s goal is to work with HBCUs to address issues so that HBCUs can better serve our diverse student populations and our communities,” said Lisa Wardell, President and CEO of Adtalem.


"Airbnb’s mission is to create a world where anyone can belong. We're proud to join the HBCU Partnership Challenge and Congressional leaders in ensuring that our workforce reflects the nation. Historically Black Colleges and Universities produce some of the best and brightest graduates in the country, and Airbnb wants to be a leader in recruiting and hiring that exceptional talent,” said Janaye Ingram, Director of National Partnerships at Airbnb.


“Celebrating and embracing our differences makes Ally a stronger and more unified company,” said Reggie Willis, Senior Director, Diversity & Inclusion and Early Talent Programs, Ally Financial. “Our ongoing efforts to support and recruit talent from Historically Black Colleges and Universities makes the HBCU Partnership Challenge and HBCU STEAM Day of Action a natural fit for Ally and our efforts to offer a work environment where all backgrounds, experiences, interests and skills are respected, appreciated and encouraged.”


Tomorrow the coalition will formally join the Partnership Challenge at a breakfast hosted by the Consumer Technology Association during the 2nd Annual HBCU STEAM Day of Action.  Other companies in the Challenge include: Intel, Lyft, SAP, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, Dell, GM Financial, Amazon, Pandora, Volvo, AnitaB.Org, Nielsen, Regions Bank, and Duke Energy.