The FBI is making it a point of emphasis to recruit diverse talent. As many people have known for decades and many companies are just starting to find out, diversity is the key to a healthy organization.
But this outreach will certainly raise some eyebrows.
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In September of this year, the FBI announced that it had launched the Beacon Project as a way to “foster relationships between the FBI and underrepresented communities.” Part of this project includes an increased effort to recruit students at HBCUs and give HBCU leaders opportunities to see the behind-the-scenes operations at the FBI.
The Beacon Project will become a crucial part of the FBI’s diversification effort.
FBI Associate Deputy Director Jeffrey Sallet said the organization needs to look like the communities they serve.
“Diversity is at the core of the FBI,” said Sallet in a news release by the FBI. “We need to reflect the communities that we serve, because when people look at us, they need to see themselves. If they don’t see themselves, it’s harder for them to trust us, which is why we are working every single day to be better.”
The FBI is currently struggling to recruit and hire minority applicants, especially in the special agent role, so they have called on HBCUs to help bridge the gap.
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According to FBI data, 80% of all special agents are white and less than 5% are Black.
The lack of diversity is no coincidence. The fact of the matter is that the lack of trust between the FBI and law enforcement has been augmented by unjust killings and instances of police brutality that go back decades.
“[The goal] is really to reach out to those communities and ensure that they recognize that there is a place for their students in the FBI,” Scott McMillian, the bureau’s chief diversity officer said according to Blavity, “Historically, we have not been the best–particularly for the African American community, where you’re talking about surveillance operations [and the] civil rights failures that the FBI has had.”
The partnership will try to help remedy the tensions between the FBI and the Black community while also providing HBCU students a chance to become employed by the government organization.
“A lot of our students just haven’t had the exposure,” said Miles College President Bobbie Knight in the news release, who was instrumental in putting this partnership together. “And so to have people come to the campus and talk about real, genuine careers with the FBI—it’s exciting to them.”