The Georgia Education Foundation (GEF), the educational non-profit arm of the Georgia Minority Supplier Development Council (GMSDC), has launched the Minority Business Internship Program (MBIP), an internship opportunity for minority college students in Georgia. The GEF, whose traditional focus is training and capacity building for small businesses, has expanded its scope to include internships for students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Designed to provide income, soft skills development, exposure to business leaders and academic credit towards the student’s major at school, the MBIP was piloted last spring with founding sponsor Chick-fil-A, Inc. Now in full operation, the program continues to make an impact from the support of Chick-fil-A, Inc., Norfolk Southern, Georgia-Pacific and Southern Company Gas.
Stacey Key, President and CEO of the GEF, says that minority students are historically underrepresented in internship programs, for a variety of economic, logistical and cultural reasons. The GEF partnered with the HBCU institutions at the Atlanta University Center to offer a viable alternative for their students. This program matches each candidate to a Minority Business Enterprise (MBE) leader who provides employment, exposes the student to the nuances of business ownership, works on the student’s soft skills and serves as a mentor. The goal is to stimulate interest in business ownership among minority college students, who have traditionally been coached to graduate and find a job. A shared cost model allows the employer to pay competitively while providing invaluable work experience.
Rodney Bullard, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility at Chick-fil-A, Inc., understands the importance of providing opportunities to emerging young leaders. “At Chick-fil-A, we believe in caring for people and caring for communities as part of our corporate social responsibility efforts, and this includes supporting our employees and students throughout the communities we serve as they pursue higher education,” he says. “The Minority Business Internship Program empowers young people and helps them achieve their dreams by providing entrepreneurship training, professional skills development and the foundation for future career success. It is our pleasure to support the GMSDC and this important initiative.”
MBEs who are looking to hire one or more interns, and corporations who would like to participate as sponsors, may contact Vanessa Lane, Executive Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Article courtesy of Metro Atlanta CEO, published April 7, 2022.