SAS' multidimensional culture blends our different backgrounds, experiences and perspectives from employees in 59 countries worldwide. We want everyone to feel confident expressing their ideas and know they will be respected for their unique contributions and abilities.

At SAS, it’s not about fitting into our culture; it’s about adding to it.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) at SAS is so important to us that we made it one of our company’s four brand stands – including innovation, education outreach and Data for Good. The mission of our DEI strategy is to infuse diversity, equity and inclusion into how we think, act and operate as a global business. We do this by:

  • Increasing diverse workforce representation across SAS by improving our recruitment, hiring and promotion practices.
  • Fostering a more inclusive culture and work environment where all employees can thrive being their authentic selves and achieve their full innovative potential.
  • Developing the diverse workforce of tomorrow that represents our world.

Since the inception of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) over 150 years ago, they've been an integral source of graduating Black and African American talent while preparing them for impactful and successful careers. Founded as an educational source of necessity, these colleges and universities were the only opportunities for Black Americans to be educated before Civil Rights. Today, over 300,000 students at 101 HBCUs, identified by the US Department of Education in 19 states, the District of Columbia and the US Virgin Islands, continue to attract top talent and have grown to become some of the most diversely populated universities across America.

HBCUs have educated and produced graduates who contribute to the vitality of our nation and economy. At SAS, our employees from HBCUs and other minority-serving institutions add tremendous value to the fabric of our company and the equitable technology solutions we seek to develop. And our diverse workforce brings together unique talents and abilities that inspire teams to create software that can change the world.
– Jim Goodnight, SAS CEO

Slideshow: How HBCUs have empowered success among SAS employees

It should be no surprise that diverse organizations are inherently more productive, innovative and profitable than homogeneous ones. Investing in hiring, developing and retaining diverse talent is a business imperative and has never been more critical than now.

With the challenging demand for talent, investing in Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is a competitive advantage and a crucial part of contributing to a more prosperous work environment at SAS and is essential to our world.

DEI at SAS is not new. This has been important to us since the beginning and we’ve been talking – and doing – a lot more about it.

Partnering with diverse institutions and faculty

SAS took the HBCU Partnership Challenge in 2019 by the Congressional Bipartisan HBCU Caucus to incorporate HBCUs within signatory companies’ diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts. The challenge brings together industry, government and universities to help level the playing field for HBCUs and their students, ensures their future sustainability, increase career prospects for their students and advance DEI within all employment sectors. In 2021, SAS supported the bipartisan legislation for the Institutional Grants for New Infrastructure, Technology and Education (IGNITE) to support meaningful investments in HBCUs.

The SAS Education Practice proudly partners with many HBCUs, Hispanic Serving Institutions (HSIs), and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs). Current projects range from strategic enrollment management to institutional research to developing a comprehensive data and analytics strategy. SAS also has teaching and research education licenses at many HBCUs, providing professors with the ability to teach SAS in the classroom and offering students and faculty software to advance their research.

To date, SAS is currently working with 40 HBCUs, including all ten accredited institutions in North Carolina and 14 of the 19 land-grant institutions focused on strengthening research, extension and teaching in the food and agricultural sciences.

SAS Global Academic Programs (GAP) is meeting the unprecedented demand for early career analytics talent by offering a variety of resources to help educators teach and use SAS software, help students learn SAS and ensure SAS customers can hire the top early-career talent they need to be successful. The GAP team is currently collaborating with the following HBCUs in support of their efforts to advance teaching and learning analytics:

  • Fayetteville State University’s Broadwell College of Business and Economics.
  • North Carolina Central University’s School of Business.
  • Virginia State University’s Reginald F. Lewis College of Business.
  • Meharry Medical College’s School of Applied Computational Sciences.

The SAS HBCU Fellows Program supports educators at HBCUs by helping integrate analytical tools into their academic programs. This program selects HBCU faculty to receive customized curriculum planning and technical guidance, opportunities to network with technical experts and quarterly training and professional development events to advance their analytical skills and identify resources for teaching analytics in their disciplines.

Recruiting and engaging students

Outreach is one of the essential parts of the hiring process because it impacts recruitment from application to hire. SAS is intentional about engaging students at HBCUs and Black students at Predominantly White Institutions (PWI) through direct outreach to promote SAS and career opportunities, including:

  • Attending virtual and in-person career fairs, information sessions and events hosted by universities and organizations such as HBCU Career Development Marketplace.
  • Establishing strategic partnerships with Career Services departments at HBCUs across the Southeastern US and Black student organizations at PWIs to provide professional development opportunities for students.
  • Hosting the annual SAS HBCU STEM Connect event to connect students to HBCU Alumni, hear about career opportunities and learn about using analytics for good.
  • Providing internship opportunities for underrepresented students in our United in STEM Internship Program and the HBCU Academic Excellence Program at North Carolina A&T State University.
  • We are collaborating with Thurgood Marshall College Fund to host webinars about the field of patent law and how it fuels technology innovation.

Inspiring the next generation inside and outside the classroom

Education gives each new generation the power to change what’s possible. Around the world, SAS supports education initiatives that promote learning for all to build a global community of innovators, including:

  • Improving reading proficiency and closing the equity gap. Achieving educational equity is essential to achieving racial equity. Students who cannot read proficiently by the end of third grade are four times more likely to leave school before graduating. This number is even more significant among students of color, low-income students and other underrepresented populations.
  • Data and digital literacy. SAS is committed to integrating technology into all levels of education to bridge the skills gap, starting with K-12 students. We believe that helping understand data’s value begins by teaching the basics, including assisting students in rethinking their approach to problem-solving. Students begin to see how integrating data into problem-solving can help drive meaningful results. We have developed relevant resources for data literacy, computational thinking and coding to educate the future data scientists of the world.

Inaugural SAS Championship HBCU Invitational

This year, the SAS Championship, in collaboration with the PGA Tour and the Black College Golf Coaches Association, will host the inaugural SAS Championship HBCU Invitational, featuring men’s and women’s collegiate golf teams from 12 leading HBCUs, competing as part of its annual PGA Tour Champions tournament.

This is an exciting opportunity to increase the diversity of golf and empower the future generation of Black professionals. Before teeing off, HBCU student-athletes will participate in a Career Day at SAS, where they will learn about the athletic and career experiences of SAS Black professionals in our Black Initiatives Group (BIG) employee inclusion group, explore job opportunities outside of collegiate sports, receive career readiness resources and build meaningful relationships that extend beyond the tournament.

We recognize that there is still tremendous work to be done. While we’re proud of the strides made, we are committed to ensuring the workforce of tomorrow is not only reflective of our world but better equipped to tackle the challenges of an evolving world.

Discover more ways that SAS is empowering diversity, equity and inclusion.


About Author

Danielle Pavliv

Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer

Danielle Pavliv (she/her), is the Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at SAS where she serves as a change agent and thought leader in creating and executing workforce diversity, equity, and inclusion strategies. In her role, she consults with business leaders and employees to develop interventions that infuse diversity, equity & inclusion into how the organization thinks, acts, and operates globally. Danielle is passionate about creating positive change, advocacy, and inclusion of underrepresented groups in the workplace and community. Danielle has two bachelor’s degrees in Spanish & French from NC State University, and a master’s in Human Resource Management from the University of Southern California. She is also a Certified Diversity Executive and has over a decade of experience in the field of diversity, equity & inclusion.  

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