When Dell Technologies initially introduced its “Changing the Face of Tech” strategic mission to increase diversity and inclusion, they chose to partner with UMass Dartmouth as one of only four higher education institutions in the country.
Since 2018, the UMassD-Dell Technologies partnership has provided historically underrepresented student groups with training and employment opportunities. To date, more than 500 UMassD students have engaged in the opportunity to hear directly from Dell sponsors and leaders about their commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion, learn about the tech industry and corporate possibilities, engage in real talk with young professionals of color, and network directly with diverse corporate teams and hiring managers.
With support from CIO & Associate Vice Chancellor for IT, Holger Dippel, UMass Dartmouth created a campus team to support this unique initiative. The UMassD trifecta includes Computing & Information Technology Services Executive Director Peggy Dias who co-leads for UMass Dartmouth along with Dell Technologies Director Nishita Roy-Pope, founder of Dell’s “Changing the Face of Tech” initiative.
“As a woman of color and a senior IT leader, it is a privilege to lead the UMass–Dell Changing the Face of Tech team,” says Mrs. Dias. “We work together, daily, to parlay the unprecedented access to Dell’s senior vice presidents, directors, and talent recruiters into full-time or internship roles for our students of color. We know we are changing life trajectories for our students, their families, and indeed, their communities. We also believe this successful initiative affords UMass Dartmouth a unique recruiting, retention, and graduation tool for students of color who make up 40% of our student body, currently.”
The leadership team also includes Amelia Alburn, director of Experiential Learning & Internship Development, Dr. LaSella Hall, associate director of the Frederick Douglass Unity House, and Diane Gomes, IT telecommunications coordinator CITS of UMass Dartmouth along with Christina Crowley, senior vice president, and Degion Craddock, program manager at Dell Technologies.
This team identifies, prepares, mentors, and advocates for high-potential students to participate in this unique real-world experience. Students who exemplify academic excellence, leadership abilities, and community involvement are invited to participate as part of their academic journey.
The impact of this corporate-university partnership over the past four years is significant:
- 500+ UMass Dartmouth students have engaged in 13+ face-to-face and virtual career-networking events.
- 97% of students say it was a great overall experience
- 97% feel it showcases Dell diversity and inclusion commitment
- 98% want to explore career opportunities at Dell and in the broader tech industry
- To date, 35 students have been hired by Dell. The majority (27) are in full-time positions; the remaining (eight) are in internships that will potentially convert to full-time roles.
- Dell was recognized with the industry Steve Award for innovative talent / HR programming in 2020 for this program.
- UMass Dartmouth and Dell leaders were selected as a featured session to share the programmatic model as a best practice at the EDUCAUSE technology conference in Chicago in 2019.
- 30 high-potential UMass Dartmouth students (majority freshmen and sophomores) were invited to an exclusive “Alternative Spring Break” opportunity in March 2020 to attend an immersive two-day STEM Leadership Experience, which included a case competition judged by more than 10 Dell leaders and workshops on Tableau data visualization and valued-based selling.
“I am delighted that UMass Dartmouth and Dell Technologies have created such an incredible partnership to provide opportunities for talented students of color in business and technology, which has the added long-term benefit of diversifying the workforce,” said Chancellor Mark A. Fuller. “I am grateful to everyone who worked to support this collaboration, and I’m not at all surprised that the talents, experiences, and ambition of our students of color have attracted such a dynamic corporate partner,” says Dr. Mark Fuller, Chancellor of UMass Dartmouth.
While these events have recently taken place virtually, students have traveled to the Dell corporate campus in Hopkinton, MA where they attended hands-on workshops such as career mapping, artificial intelligence, and machine learning, as well as taking part in product and engineering lab tours, engaging in speed networking, and participating in onsite screenings and interviews.
In mid-October of this year, students met with Dell Technologies hiring teams for 2022 internship and full-time opportunities in analytics, engineering, marketing, operations, and other fields of study during the virtual “Changing the Face of Tech” networking and recruiting event. This year’s event included a Diverse Young Professionals panel in which recent UMassD graduates Amy Boateng, Maggie Duah, Melanie Luperon, Abderahmane Naidjate, and Jean Pierre shared their perspectives and insights as Dell Technology associates. Business breakout sessions with the theme “A Day in the Life at Dell” focused on business unit pitches in the areas of the senior leadership development program, marketing, engineering, education services, telecommunications, and general Dell experience. And the event culminated with professional feedback from Dell leadership, a survey, and prizes.
"What started as a relationship between us (Dell Technologies) as the vendor and UMass Dartmouth as the customer has evolved into something much deeper. There is mutual respect and trust between our organizations,” says Mrs. Roy-Pope. “The dynamic and talented students we have engaged from UMass Dartmouth are truly changing the face of tech. They are thriving at Dell Technologies as early career professionals—evidenced by what they’re accomplishing in their roles, promotion to roles with increased responsibility, and active participation and leadership in employee resource groups."
While the primary makeup of participants has been students pursuing their degrees at the College of Engineering or Charlton College of Business, undergraduate students from all of the colleges have participated in the initiative. “Diversity within the workplace is an important aspect to what makes a company feel at home. I, for one, can say that Dell has taken the initiative to give opportunities to people from different backgrounds and aid undergraduate students to become more exposed to Dell Technologies,” says engineering major Antz-Lee Francois ‘22.
“This experience has been eye-opening,” says Jayika Pauyo ’22, an accounting major at UMass Dartmouth. “I have been able to see how multifaceted a large global organization such as Dell Technologies is and I am reminded of the skills I possess and how to effectively utilize them. This experience has made a long-lasting impact on me and my professional development.”
The UMass Dartmouth–Dell Technologies partnership also helps support Dell’s 2030 Moonshot Goals. By 2030, the company aims for 50% of its global workforce and 40% of its global leaders to identify as women. The initiative also includes increasing diversity among people of color, with 25% of their U.S. workforce and 15% of U.S. people leaders identifying as Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino minorities.
“We are thankful to UMass Dartmouth for allowing us the opportunity to engage with their students. Dell Technologies looks forward to continuing the partnership by preparing and helping students of color to obtain employment opportunities within tech,” says Degion Craddock, Dell Technologies program manager. “Dell Technologies understands that diversity in the workplace is an asset to the present and the future, which is why cultivating inclusion is a part of our 2030 Moonshot Goals.”
“We value the partnership we have built with UMass Dartmouth and appreciate your continuous sponsorship and support of this program. Personally, this is one of my favorite events and I am honored to serve as the Executive Sponsor of this program, said Mrs. Crowley. “I always walk away from these events with enormous energy and awe after engaging with the amazing talent of our future. I appreciate the value of a UMassD education and what these students will bring to the table in their professional careers.”