At SAS, we have a multidimensional culture that blends our different backgrounds, experiences, and perspectives from employees in nearly 60 countries around the world. Our mission is to infuse diversity, equity, and inclusion into everything we do. At SAS, we are focused on increasing the diversity of our own workforce at all levels, fostering an inclusive work environment, and ensuring the workforce of tomorrow reflects our customers and communities.
One intentional way we fulfill our mission is by investing in outreach and recruitment with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs).
On Oct. 13, SAS held its 5th annual HBCU STEM Connect event, which engages Black and African American students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) pursuing degrees in technical or analytical fields. This exclusive event gave students the opportunity to learn from and network with SAS employees and focused on the importance of inclusive outreach to underrepresented students. This intentional program is one way that we strengthen partnerships with HBCUs and build a pipeline of diverse talent for SAS.
This year, close to 70 students from more than 10 HBCUs across the nation participated in the virtual event which featured a stimulating career panel, fun games and inspiring keynote messages.
“SAS is focusing on partnerships and engagements with Historically Black Colleges and Universities, which account for more than one-third of all Black STEM degree earners,” said CEO Jim Goodnight. “These schools produce 42% of Black engineers, including more than 47% of Black women engineers. We continue to seek out new ways to foster STEM career opportunities for communities of color by expanding our United in STEM Internship Program, creating the SAS HBCU Academic Excellence Program and focusing on educational initiatives – from preschool to higher education.”
Proud SAS HBCU alumni gave insight into their career journeys and how they have been able to successfully navigate the working world post-graduation. Topics included the importance of continuous learning, self-advocacy, self-care, self-acceptance and what it means to experience the #saslife as a Black employee.
Alex Boakye, Vice President of Solutions Development and Executive Sponsor for the SAS Black Initiatives Group (BIG), delivered the keynote message at this year’s event. He spoke on the importance of diversity being an integral component of success in the internal teams we create, the people we serve, and the work we do at SAS, which inevitably helps grow our market base.
“We’re looking for the next generation of folks who are going to help us forge our path for the future in the next 40 years in being able to grow our market, being able to deliver solutions that can solve core problems in society,” Boakye said. “And we believe that to do that, we need to expand the scope of the areas that we generally look for and to grow our partnerships in various areas so that we can be very effective. One of them is making sure that we increase our partnerships and engagement in HBCUs.” -Alex Boakye
Executive Vice President and Chief Technology Officer Bryan Harris has been vocal about how important it is for teams building software to represent the diversity of those that are using it. Harris shared his perspective during the event as well.
“You are the next generation of great minds who bring unique backgrounds, experiences and perspectives that must be represented in the workforce of the future,” Harris said. “When we do that, we see more opportunities to help customers and communities with data and analytics.”
The event ended with students being able to meet and greet SAS technical professionals and our Early Careers team, who provided additional insight into internship and early career opportunities, including our career-focused academies for recent graduates.
Diversity outreach and recruitment are essential components to evolve our workforce to reflect the customers and communities we serve and make SAS a stronger organization. “Our outreach efforts are intentionally focused on ensuring equal hiring processes and attracting top-talent representing different perspectives, backgrounds, and experiences. We recognize the significance of such practices as well as the value it brings to our overall organizational success.” Christal Graves, Diversity Talent Acquisition Lead. Our HBCU STEM Connect program is one way that we inspire HBCU students to be curious and attract them to SAS.