The Importance of Education-Focused Community Partnerships

Community partnerships focused on education are vital to creating and improving the network that connects diverse, underrepresented students and young professionals with employers seeking new talent.

For Stephanie Turner, VP of Inclusion, Diversity and Social Innovation at MITRE, advocation starts at the root of education: grade school curriculum, especially in 4th and 8th grade.

“Standardized tests for math, reading and science are where we have the largest disparity between Black and brown children and white children. MITRE is thinking big — what can we do to have what we call generational impact, to really redesign the curriculum in that K-12 space?”

MITRE is a member company of Advancing Minorities’ Interest in Engineering (AMIE), an organization that develops industry, government and university partnerships to achieve diversity in the engineering workforce. MITRE works with the AMIE coalition of the 15 ABET-accredited Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) Schools of Engineering in preparing their students to be more competitive in the workforce.

Mindfulness towards the types of community partnerships a company engages in is crucial when cultivating a diverse and inclusive environment for students, young professionals and employers.

“By partnering with employers that understand the importance of diversifying their companies with skilled employees from all backgrounds, we are ensuring a future that reflects and celebrates diverse people and diverse thought,” says Dr. Kelly D. Owens, Chief Impact and Strategy Officer at INROADS.

INROADS is a non-profit that creates pathways to careers for ethnically diverse students across the country. Advocation at INROADS was started shortly after the Civil Rights Movement, which was when the organization was founded.

Creating a network that helps connect diverse, underrepresented students and professionals with hiring employers is an important aspect of education-focused community partnerships.

“The Mastercard Launch program is aimed at early-career talent to help graduate hires develop skills and gain cross-functional work experience,” says Allison Kahn, Vice President of Social Impact Communications at Mastercard (ranked No. 2 on Fair360, formerly DiversityInc’s Top 50 Companies for Diversity list).

Launch participants have access to mentor opportunities, feedback to help develop their strengths and a holistic learning and development curriculum.

To hear more from MITRE, INROADS and Mastercard, read the full story on