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How to recruit students at historically Black colleges & universities

Learn why HBCU alums report being 90% better prepared for post-school life than their non-HBCU peers.

Did you know computer science is the fourth most popular degree at HBCUs? See the top 10 majors and most popular hard and soft skills for HBCU students, along with the qualities they look for in a potential employer in Handshake's guide.

So you want to recruit at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs)? You’re not alone. In the past 12 months, more than 110k connections between employers and HBCUs happened on Handshake.

Employers who are intentional about wanting to increase diversity are flocking to HBCUs who—after all—produce almost 20% of all the African American college graduates in the country.

Any company that wants to compete in today’s business environment should be partnering with these schools to find promising employees with not only the necessary skills, but also the drive to make an impact early in their career. Now—with the ease of virtual career fairs and other ways to engage prospects—it’s easier than ever to access these highly desirable candidates.

The widespread support that HBCUs across the country provide for their students makes them an ideal place to recruit early talent. With an emphasis on mentorships, internships, and other ways to participate actively in the larger community, HBCUs prepare students for life outside the classroom while offering a safe, nurturing, and inspiring environment—a place to thrive.

Born out of necessity—as a reaction to policies rooted in racism that denied equal access to Black students—these institutions have done an incredible job of helping to level the playing field. That’s what makes their students an excellent source of early talent.

In Handshake’s Guide to Recruiting at HBCUs, we’ll share key insights on these students and what they’re looking for in an employer.

We’ll share specifics on how to create successful partnerships with career services at HBCUs to achieve the results you want while building long-term relationships with these schools. With thousands of students to place, their career centers are resource-strapped, investing the bulk of their energy into fully supporting our next generation of leaders.

And of course, we’ll share tips on how to best engage the students themselves. Some of this is about developing a greater understanding of who they are and what they’re looking for. We’ll also help you develop a thoughtful messaging strategy and share our thoughts on how to bridge the supportive environment of an HBCU to your own company.

All of these insights will help your company compete against big brands with more resources recruiting in hot markets.

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