Recruiting Road Trip Brings Promising Returns
FBI visited 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities to promote internship program
The FBI was on the road this fall—making stops at 11 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) to encourage students to consider an FBI internship and learn more about the application process. The road trip was part of the Beacon Project, which was created to strengthen ties between the Bureau and HBCUs. Among the program's goals is to bring more candidates from diverse backgrounds into the FBI.
“We know that diverse communities oftentimes may not consider the FBI as a place to work,” said FBI Chief Diversity Officer Scott McMillion. “When I think about our commitment to the Beacon Project, it’s really to ensure that we highlight and provide information about FBI career opportunities in the hope that students would consider us as an employer of choice.”
McMillion explained some of that comes down to helping students understand that the Bureau needs candidates from many fields of study. It doesn’t matter if you majored in accounting or biology or journalism—we need those skills. “We are making the case that when they bring themselves—their degrees, their backgrounds, their authentic selves—there is a home for them in the FBI,” he said.
Piquing students’ interest is only half the work. The other half is encouraging them to go through the highly competitive and thorough application process. McMillion acknowledged to everyone looking to apply that it’s a long process, but there's a good reason for it. Even an internship at the FBI allows access to sensitive information, and it’s important that everyone in the FBI is properly vetted.
On the HBCU tour, McMillion said that small group presentations and one-on-one interactions helped remove some of the apprehension about the application process while the mock interview sessions helped potential applicants learn about the FBI’s structured approach.
The individual interactions also helped students get over the hesitancy that many people feel when considering the Bureau. McMillion said sometimes you need someone else to tell you they believe you can do it: “We need students to understand they have the skills, the characteristics, the background, the inquisitiveness to benefit the FBI.”
The 11-campus tour stopped at Virginia State University, Norfolk State University, Johnson C. Smith University, Albany State University, Alabama State University, Talladega College, Miles College, Morgan State University, Howard University, and Jackson State University. In addition to the campus tour, the FBI offered online information sessions. The more robust outreach resulted in a nearly 300% increase in applications from HBCUs to the Honors Internship Program, when compared with the year before.
Every year, the FBI receives thousands of internship applications. Although not every candidate can be selected, the FBI Office of Diversity and Inclusion is pleased with the uptick in interest and hopes the increase starts a continuing trend.
“We are trying to be intentional about bringing people with diverse backgrounds into the Bureau,” McMillion said. “These students will bring new ideas, innovation, creativity, and passion that will help us be a better organization now and into the future.”
“These students will bring new ideas, innovation, creativity, and passion that will help us be a better organization now and into the future.”
-FBI Chief Diversity Officer Scott McMillion