In 2018, Chad Douglas and his business partner, fellow DE&I Influencer Tinisha Bookhart, launched Primary Talent Partners with a core mission to increase Black worker representation — one person at a time.
“We’re making real investments,” Douglas says. “We see a lot of marketing ploys around DE&I, people saying that they’re ‘raising awareness.’ That time has passed. It’s time for action.”
The action Douglas takes is, first of all, to build a diverse internal staff and consultant pool. “We seek out the Black worker for our contingent workers and our internal organization. They are the most underrepresented in the workplace.”
Black workers comprise 13% of the population, but only 7% of the science, technology, engineering, and manufacturing (STEM) workforce, making them the most underrepresented demographic in STEM roles, Douglas says. For Primary Talent Partners, 27% of their submissions are black STEM workers. “That’s almost four times their STEM population,” he said. “We’re really proud of that.”
Second, Douglas and his partner’s “diversIT” program gives support directly to Black STEM students to help them succeed. “Black kids drop out of STEM programs at nearly twice the rate as other demographics … because they lack either funding or a feeling of belonging,” Douglas says. “If they don’t have enough money, give them scholarships. Give them support. That’s actually directly solving the problem.”
The diversIT program uses a percentage of the company’s revenue to provide scholarships to Black students entering STEM programs at Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Throughout these students’ college careers, the company supports them with stipends for housing, professional attire, mentorship and internship opportunities with clients.
“The most recent class of cohorts getting jobs in cybersecurity will make more in one year than their parents make in three. In one generation, making that big flip. We are proud to know we had a small part in that,” Douglas said.
2022 DE&I Influencers List