At the 2022 HBCU Philanthropy Symposium, The Walt Disney Company announced it is joining Propel, a first-of-its-kind education hub for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), as the arts, media, entertainment, and hospitality lead sponsor. Disney will work with Propel to expand opportunities for historically underrepresented students to have future careers as storytellers and innovators.
Propel is an innovative learning hub for the HBCU community with a focus on career readiness. Through its network of HBCUs, Propel will provide a variety of career services and best-in-class learning experiences both in-person and through a state-of-the-art online digital platform that will be accessible to every HBCU student located anywhere across America.
“The Propel Center is a bold and transformational initiative impacting the entire HBCU ecosystem,” said Waymond Jackson, CEO of Education Farm. “Through cutting-edge curriculum, innovative technology, trending thought leadership, and other opportunities like the ones this exciting new Disney collaboration presents, Propel aims to positively influence how HBCU scholars see and experience the world. By equipping them with the resources, training, and tools they need to become leaders who advance equity, transform the talent pipeline, and tell their stories, we are ensuring that they are prepared to fill and create the jobs of the future.”
Through this collaboration, Disney will work with HBCU faculty and other industry leaders to create curriculum that will prepare students for future careers in arts, media, entertainment, and hospitality. In addition to curriculum support, Disney will provide a series of guest speakers to introduce students to the breadth of opportunities available to them and will deliver meaningful career support through Disney mentors and internship placements to prepare students for careers in entertainment and technology.
The initial curriculum will focus on the areas of technology and hospitality, where Disney has a significant number of entry-level career opportunities. The hope is to create a bridge between the academic training students receive and the job opportunities available to them in the industry.
“At Disney, we know that technology and hospitality play a huge role in telling great stories and creating seamless consumer experiences. We want to give HBCU students the opportunity to build the skills necessary in these areas to help them succeed in their careers,” said Jennifer Cohen, executive vice president, Corporate Social Responsibility, The Walt Disney Company. “With the help of Propel’s network and expertise, we hope to reach more students and empower them with the experience and confidence to push storytelling forward.”
This collaboration with Propel is part of the Disney Future Storytellers initiative. Through social investments and collaborations such as these, Disney is increasing access to careers in storytelling and innovation for those who have been historically underrepresented. From arts and STEM programs for school-age children to scholarships, storytelling, and technical skills-building programs for teens and young adults, Disney is helping today’s youth to pursue their dreams, build their talents and skills, and become who they imagine they can be.
In addition to the Disney Future Storytellers initiative, Disney continues to strengthen its work with HBCUs to build a robust, long-term pipeline of Black talent through an enterprise-wide HBCU Engagement Task Force. In 2020, Disney launched Disney on the Yard, a multifaceted initiative to deepen its relationships with HBCUs.
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