Disney Working with Historically Black Colleges and Universities to Inspire the Next Gen to Dream Big   

From the Disney Parks Blog and written by: Courtnee Collier

Recently, Disney announced an employee-led commitment to deepen its relationships with Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). We believe that inclusion is a critical part of fostering ideas and decisions from all people to help us grow, innovate and create the best stories. Today, I’m pleased to share a behind-the-scenes look at one of the many ways that we’re activating on that commitment. 

This month, we hosted virtual career exploration sessions for HBCU students where I joined my fellow cast members as part of an internal, HBCU strategy task force led by Kristi Breen, Vice President, Disney International and Campus Programs and Disney Cruise Line Recruitment, and Avis Lewis, Vice President, Human Resources, Walt Disney Imagineering and Consumer Products, Games and Publishing to connect with students and share with them all the opportunities possible at Disney. From Walt Disney World to Walt Disney Imagineering and from Consumer Products, Games and Publishing to beyond – cast members united from all over The Walt Disney Company for this important effort. 

My own educational journey began at an HBCU, and I’ve carried the lessons I learned at my alma mater, Hampton University, throughout my nearly six-year Disney career. I know firsthand how important it is to support efforts that encourage HBCU students and provide opportunities for students to participate in engaging and accessible events.

Courtnee Collier, Hampton University Yearbook Photo 
Courtnee Collier, Hampton University Yearbook Photo 

As part of our new efforts, Disney is helping create purposeful career paths for HBCU students from colleges including: Florida A&M University in Tallahassee, Howard University in Washington, D.C., North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro and Hampton University in Virginia. 

By working more closely with HBCUs, Disney will continue to build a robust, long-term pipeline of Black talent through the development of student internships, mentorship opportunities and inclusive hiring practices. 

I was in these students’ shoes not long ago, and I feel like I would have benefitted from a conversation like this to understand the power of networking while interning, and how it is such a huge part of our career journeys. I am truly proud and grateful that Disney is taking this step to strengthen its relationships with HBCUs.

Disney employees from all over the company will have the opportunity to support HBCU engagement in multiple ways, from volunteering, to participating in mentorship opportunities and recruitment efforts, and more. This activation is just one of many ongoing sessions scheduled throughout the year. Stay tuned as we continue to bring you more stories about our Diversity & Inclusion efforts! 

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