Oct 12, 2022

Making investments in the next generation

Medtronic supports initiative that recruits early career Black talent

The journey to New York City was a first for many of the students who traveled to the 2022 Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) Leadership Institute in Times Square last month. Jordyn Harris was among them. The recent graduate of Delaware State University — one of the historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) — was there as not just an alum, but as a recent Medtronic recruit. 

adding value
Jordyn Harris

For the first time, Medtronic was a presidential sponsor of the event and invested in discovering top Black talent there, specifically from HBCUs. Harris, an Associate Finance Analyst, was an intern at Medtronic and learned of the company through TMCF. 

“I had not heard of Medtronic,” Harris said. “But once I got into the program, they introduced us to medical devices and told us how the company helps patients ― that was fascinating to me because that’s what I want to do with my career.” 

Just four months into her professional career, Harris assumed an ambassador role, sharing her Medtronic experience with fellow HBCU students as part of a larger company effort to increase diversity and invest in talent from underrepresented communities.  

Amplifying HBCUs as a source of exceptional talent 

Trent Agnew, Regional Program Manager from the company’s Cranial & Spinal Technologies Operating Unit, signed up to be a recruiter on behalf of Medtronic. He was consistently impressed by the readiness of the TMCF candidates. Agnew acknowledged that companies need to challenge the biases that exist when recruiting from HBCUs.  

adding value
Trent Agnew

“I attended the University of Illinois while working for another company in aerospace and there was one HBCU student from Howard University that was a part of the program,” Agnew said.  “I noticed they weren’t given as much time with orientation or called upon for certain things and it seemed unfair.”  

That treatment directly impacted Agnew, and he felt obligated to help change the perception of HBCUs — schools born out of a legacy of segregation in the United States that can and do graduate exceptional talent. He gave up his scholarship to Illinois and transferred to North Carolina Agricultural and Technical (A&T) State University, the HBCU from which he graduated.   

“That fuel is still burning for me to call upon people to reevaluate those they may underestimate and undervalue,” he said. “And now that we recognize we are bringing in all-stars to this company, we also have to show them what success looks like, prepare them to be great ― in the end it’s a win-win situation.” 

Partnership with TMCF 

TMCF  supports over 300,00 students representing 47 HBCUs. It’s a part of a larger effort the company has to promote equity and representation. Also the African Descent Network (ADN), a Medtronic employee resource group, supports this alliance even participating in the recruitment process at the event. 

To that end, the TMCF partnership aligns with the Medtronic commitment to zero barriers to opportunity. The company is working to remove barriers to equity in its workplace, industry, and communities they serve. One of the systemic barriers remains access to economic opportunities. This partnership enables a pathway to equitable opportunities, as well as creating a pipeline of diverse talent.  

Read more about the partnership and the company’s impact in the Medtronic Global ID&E Report. 

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