2013 marks the inaugural year for the Diversity & Inclusion Summer Internship Program. The six-week, paid internship is funded by the D&I Department and is designed to give students a well-rounded experience. The interns have all been assigned to specific business units throughout the USTA, including Marketing, USTA Serves, Learning Leadership & Development, Finance, Community Tennis and the NTC Ticket Office.
According to D.A. Abrams, Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer of the USTA: "The USTA Internship Program provides college-age students the opportunity to live the USTA experience for six weeks. The students get to apply the theories learned in college to a real life work environment. During the six week period, the interns will learn new skills, develop friendships, and gain valuable contacts that may assist them in the future. The USTA benefits from providing the platform for the aforementioned to occur, while assessing talent for future entry level possibilities. The Internship Program is a winning situation for all parties involved."
Twelve college undergraduate students were selected from over 300 applications that were submitted to the USTA. The interns represent a diverse pool of talented individuals hailing from colleges and universities such as New York University, Clarkson University, Trinity College, George Washington University and the University of Montana. Their areas of study are just as diverse, ranging from Psychology to Information Systems to Sports Management.
As part of their internship experience, a weekly "Lunch & Learn" workshop will be hosted by the USTA’s Learning & Leadership department. Topics to be covered include: Time & Project Management, Difficult Interactions, Strategic Thinking and Resume Writing & Interviewing, among others. The purpose of the Lunch & Learn series is to introduce the group to new competencies they can carry with them as they finish college and enter the work force.
Another important aspect of the program is a collaboration with the newly formed Millennial Business Resource Group that will match a USTA employee to each of the interns to act as a mentor. Members of the Millennial BRG are volunteering their time to counsel and guide the interns in their various fields of study and help them to maneuver and manage their time here at the USTA. As stated by Larry Bonfante, USTA Chief Information Officer: "This is a great opportunity for a the USTA to support a bright group of young people and help them learn about the sports and entertainment industry and what it’s like to work in a professional environment. It’s also a great opportunity for the USTA to be able to see how our brand and our value proposition is perceived through the eyes of Millennials who are an important constituency for us to better understand and embrace as we work to grow the game of tennis."
The program is overseen by the D&I Department, with Renée E. Tirado, Director, leading the charge. When asked about the program, Tirado said: "The D&I Internship Program is a great opportunity for us to expose diverse young adults not only to a professional work experience but also to the unique world of tennis and the USTA. We are working hard to make sure this is a fun experience that is also substantive and project driven so they can build professional skills and enhance their resume. The candidates are super talented and the support of the USTA business units, leadership and BRGs has been overwhelming. It’s going to be a great six weeks."
The program, which began on June 24, is off to a great start. This is a wonderful opportunity for these college students to gain valuable experience in entry level, project–driven work.