In an effort to diversify its pipeline of talent, the Baltimore Ravens recently hosted 65 students from seven HBCUs for a first of its kind all-day HBCU Career Combine.
The event, which was held at the Under Armour Performance Center in Baltimore, Maryland, hosted students from Morgan State University, the University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Coppin State University, Bowie State University, Delaware State University, Howard University and Lincoln University.
“A lot of people don’t know about HBCUs, so the fact that the Ravens took time to acknowledge us and say, ‘We should give these students a chance,’ just really means a lot,’” Kiana Fludd, a sports management major at Howard, said in a press release. “It means they actually care about people. Instead of just, ‘Oh, we need an employee,’ it was, ‘We want quality people. We want to make sure everybody gets a chance. We want to get to know new people. We want to make new connections and relationships.’”
During the event, the students participated in a “Building your Brand” workshop where several representatives from the Ravens organization spoke to them about networking, resumes and social media. The workshop was then followed by a panel of Ravens staff members who spoke about their respective career paths in the NFL. Once the panel discussion was complete, the students then had lunch with more than 25 Ravens employees where they were able to ask questions and learn more about what it takes to work in the industry.
“We thought it was important to do this because we want a strong, skilled and diverse workforce,” Ravens VP of human resources Elizabeth Mearman said. “In targeting HBCUs, we’ll hopefully build a pipeline of talented and wide-ranging candidates.”
Additionally, students who participated in the day-long event heard closing remarks from Ravens head coach John Harbaugh and longtime executive Ozzie Newsome.
“Our hope,” adds Mearman, “is to connect with prospective employees early so that two to three years down the line, they have the experience needed to work in sports.”