January 17, 2022

Staffing company diversity program increasing Black STEM worker representation in the workforce

Tinisha Bookhart

Primary Talent Partners is a woman-owned staffing and executive search firm dedicated to helping Fortune 1000 companies find quality employees. But its founders had another goal in mind: to not only recognize the importance of diversity in the STEM workplace, but to prioritize it in their practice.

The result has been diversIT, a multifaceted initiative that combines minority placement efforts with recruitment, education, and training programs.

This fall, PTP further strengthened its commitment to improving diversity in STEM workplaces by teaming up with two historically Black colleges (HBCU).

PTP’s diversIT Scholars program funds scholarships to Black students enrolled in a STEM program at both Claflin University and North Carolina A&T State University. Dozens of students at the colleges will receive scholarships to help with tuition and college expenses.

Once students have been identified as diversIT Scholars, they additionally have access to internships and advanced training programs, including assistance with living expenses necessary to access those opportunities. This is key, says PTP founding partner Tinisha Bookhart. Research shows that 40% of Black STEM students will drop out of school or change majors before graduating in part due to lack of funding.

The PTP initiatives recognize costs in addition to tuition, including professional wardrobes and transportation.

“Black STEM workers are the least-represented demographic in the workplace,” says Bookhart. “We knew it was the right thing to do on a human level,” says Bookhart. “But is also just makes sense. Research shows that businesses with diverse workforces are more profitable, longer-lasting, and more innovative.”

Surveys have also shown Black STEM students often leave for other professions due to “a feeling of not belonging,” says Bookhart. In response, PTP has created a network of Black Executive level mentors to help guide and encourage students both while they’re in school and as they begin to establish their careers.

PTP’s MSP partner Agile 1has been an early supporter of this initiative. Company founder Janice Bryant Howroyd, herself a graduate of A&T State and the country’s first Black CEO of a billion dollar company, will serve as a program mentor.

“North Carolina A&T provided me with the kind of foundation that has helped me become the woman I am today,” said Howroyd. “I’m proud to be part of any effort to help more young adults access this kind of valuable educational opportunity.”

PTP co-founder Chad Douglas said the company’s contribution to the diversIT initiative represents one percent of its revenue. As the company grows, he said, it will continue the one percent commitment.

Tinisha Bookhart

Partner, Director of IT Practice

A Clemson alum with with over 20 years of IT experience, Tinisha is a leader in her field who works with clients in finance, software development, project and program management. Tinisha is our technical subject matter expert as well as the leader of our diversity programming.

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