Why Expanding Access to Education and Career Paths Matters
During Black History Month in February - and all year long - we come together to foster belonging among Black and allied employees. The African Descent Network (ADN) at Medtronic is hosting global and local programming around the theme of "Still WE Rise," inspiring the community and allies to know and feel that we are succeeding and growing despite all the challenges we're facing today.
NORTHAMPTON, MA / ACCESSWIRE / February 8, 2023 / Ashanti Terry remembers exactly where he was when he realized he wanted to get into computer programming to help people - getting his student ID photo taken at Albany State University.
In that moment, just starting out at the Historically Black College and University (HBCU), he had no idea that he was about to be introduced to healthcare technology through the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF).
Through the TMCF internship program, Medtronic hires HBCU students studying science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) into summer internships, provides development opportunities, and ultimately aims to hire them full-time - creating an early-career pipeline of diverse talent.
Terry is one of 64 TMCF interns Medtronic has hired since the partnership's inception in 2020.
And in 2022, we began a similar partnership with the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers (SHPE) for SHPE interns at Medtronic and SHPE scholarships through the Medtronic Foundation.
‘More voices like me'
"I saw the Eric Garner video and it hurt me," Terry said, referring to a Black man who died while in police custody in 2014. "I just wanted to make something that will help change the world, that would help people - whatever direction that took."
For now, that is as a software engineer in the Pelvic Health business at Medtronic.
Building teams with diverse perspectives and backgrounds is crucial for the innovation required to bring life-saving technologies to more patients around the world. But the STEM field continues to fall short in representation of women, Black, and Hispanic professionals.
"I have a different perspective as an African American man. If everyone is the same, then we won't have diverse thinking coming in, and we won't grow. We'll stagnate," Terry said. "That's important, and TMCF is partnering with Medtronic to fix that. They're working to get more voices like me in the room."
Another part of the TMCF partnership is a multi-year scholarship program for undergraduate students at HBCUs, funded by the Medtronic Foundation.
Since the program's inception, over 100 TMCF scholarships have been granted in this first-of-its-kind partnership to build and foster stronger relationships with HBCUs.
These scholarships are part of a larger effort by the Medtronic Foundation to elevate its focus on STEM and promote equity and representation with the goal of improving the lives of underserved communities.
One of the main components of the scholarship is a mentor/mentee program. Each of the scholarship recipients is paired with a Medtronic employee volunteer who provides guidance, motivation, and emotional support.
Additionally, the African Descent Network, a Medtronic employee resource group, donates time and resources to help the scholarship recipients navigate their academic journeys and exposes them to professional opportunities provided by a STEM education.
Terry sees diversity as a key to innovation, and so is a willingness to keep trying, he said. But his biggest message for TMCF interns and scholarship recipients is, "You're here because you earned it."
At Medtronic, we strategically partner with other organizations that share our commitment to removing barriers to equity, particularly in industries like healthcare technology that require top talent in STEM fields. Learn more about how these strategic partnerships help advance equity in our Global Inclusion, Diversity & Equity 2022 Annual Report.
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