THE DIVERSITY ORG ORGANIZATION LEVERAGES SUPPORT TO EXPOSE STUDENTS TO CAREERS

Joshua Pierce, founder of The Diversity Org, founded the organization
because wanted students from low income and underrepresented communities
to have access to education and job opportunities. PHOTO PROVIDED BY AILEEN BEDEAU
Joshua Pierce, founder of The Diversity Org, founded the organization because wanted students from low income and underrepresented communities to have access to education and job opportunities. PHOTO PROVIDED BY AILEEN BEDEAU

The Diversity Org organization leverages support to expose students to careers

BY TIA CAROL JONES
The Diversity Org partners with schools around the country and hosts workshops with the goal of combating racial and social issues and get students to be more aware, inclusive, and inspired to create equality. Since 2014, The Diversity Org has engaged with more than 40,000 students.

Pierce comes from a low-income background and saw a lot of people in his community going in directions that would either lead them to illegal activities or to careers that wouldn’t lead them to significant financial success.

“I wanted to be a part of breaking that cycle. Because a lot of these people were talented, they just weren’t properly exposed to all of the options that are available,” he said.

The Diversity Org organization works with companies like Verizon, JP Morgan, HBO and Cartoon Network. The people who work at those companies want to support the organization’s mission to make a difference in the communities in students’ lives. Companies will have events and workshops with the organization where the employees will facilitate workshops about careers at that company.

They will also offer job training with the students. The Diversity Org assists companies in recruiting diverse candidates for jobs or internships. The aim is to systematically increase diversity in the workplace.

The Diversity Org works with schools in Chicago and is looking to expand to the rest of the Chicagoland area. It is mobilizing resources from those global companies to bring access to communities where those resources might not be readily available to the students who need them most.

As a student who had a very low-grade point average, 1.7, Pierce understands that it is not that students with low academic scores lack intelligence or talent. It is that they don’t see education can align with them having a future that will make them happy or financially successful.

“They need to be able to contextualize school being important for their future. That’s why we like to bring these companies into these schools so they can say, ‘if I do well in high school or in college, it can lead me to a job at HBO or Verizon or HSBC’ or whatever other company we work with,” said Pierce, who went to Community College, then went to New York University, and now he runs The Diversity Org organization.

The benefit for students working with The Diversity Org organization is that they get opportunities from their connection with the organization. It gives them the context of why they should do well in school.

Pierce believes the next generation of students are going to be influencers and people who will run the world. He would like for them to be the influencers they needed when they were young.

When it comes to words of advice for those students, he said they should learn to be OK with not following the path of what everyone else around them may be doing, especially if it’s
negative.

“It’s so easy to become a product of your environment, but it’s a lot more challenging to go a different path that may seem unconventional. I would really want to motivate a lot of students to take that unconventional path because if they make the right decision, it can make for a very successful future,” he said.

For more information about The Diversity Org, visit www.
thediversity.org

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