Northeastern University has received a prestigious diversity and inclusion award in career services from the National Association of Colleges and Employers in recognition of its LGBTQA+ career conference.
The Reach (Out) LGBTQA+ Career Conference, which launched last year, brings together LGBTQA+ college students and industry professionals for robust discussions around career development and identity, networking, and successes and challenges in the workplace.
The award—named the “Diversity and Inclusion Excellence Award: College—recognizes excellence in best practices at universities in nurturing and advancing diversity and inclusion. It is one of a handful of NACE Excellence Awards presented annually to colleges and employers.
Northeastern received the award earlier this month at the 2016 NACE Conference and Expo, held in Chicago. In fact, Northeastern programs represented two of the four finalists for the award: the Reach (Out) LGBTQA+ Career Conference and sheLEADS, a workshop series led by Career Development and designed to empower female students and equip them with the skills and confidence to achieve greater equality in the workplace.
Northeastern held its first Reach (Out) LGBTQA+ Career Conference in March 2015 and then held another one in November. Nearly 100 students from Northeastern and other area colleges and universities attended the second conference and then responded to a survey centered on their experience at the event. Ninety percent of respondents reported feeling more prepared to begin their job search as an LGBTQA+ person; 87 percent said they expanded their professional network by interacting with panelists, participants, employers, and volunteers at the conference; and 93 percent said they learned new strategies for addressing identity-related questions and concerns in career planning.
Northeastern will hold its third Reach (Out) LGBTQA+ Career Conference on Nov. 4-5, 2016.
Northeastern’s Career Development office, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, and the LGBTQ Resource Center co-sponsored the daylong conference.
“This collaborative event is a wonderful example of what we can accomplish when we work together,” said Maria Stein, associate vice president for cooperative education and career development. “Career Development partnered with the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, the LGBTQ Resource Center and other groups on campus to deliver a program this is relevant, timely and contributes to the professional development of our students. I couldn’t be prouder of my team and especially Mike Ariale and Jaime Bergeron who led the efforts and worked tirelessly to make this conference a huge success.”
As part of Northeastern’s university-wide commitment to diversity and inclusion, President Joseph E. Aoun has formed the Presidential Council on Inclusion and Diversity and made a call to action earlier this year to strengthen diversity on campus. Diversity and inclusion is also a core theme of the university’s next academic plan.
This commitment is also underscored by the range of resources and programs offered through the Career Development office, the Office of Institutional Diversity and Inclusion, the LGBTQ Resource Center, and student organizations such as NU Pride.