Diversity/Careers in Engineering & Information Technology



August/September 2013

Diversity/Careers August/September 2013

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Diversity In Action

NBCU has exciting work for diverse tech students and pros

“We want employees to have an opportunity to contribute and grow. Whatever path they want to follow, we want them to see that road clearly,” says the diversity VP

'NBCU is a truly exciting place for IT professionals to work,” says Atish Banerjea, executive vice president and chief information officer at NBCUniversal. “Our world-renowned brands, the scale and variety of our lines of business, and the increasing need for new and creative technology-based solutions make NBCU a challenging and exciting place for engineers and technologists to build their careers.”

Owned by Comcast Corporation, NBCUniversal is a major media and entertainment company. It owns and operates a portfolio of television networks, a motion picture company, television production operations, a television stations group, and theme parks.

“Technology is often at the heart of our growth strategies, and the scale and scope of our centrally managed technical service delivery capabilities are unparalleled in our industry,” Banerjea says.

Sought-after skills
“We’re hiring actively in several technical operations areas across NBCU,” reports Banerjea. “The media industry is transforming, and technology is playing an increasingly important role. We will continue to hire experienced engineers and other technology professionals to support our needs.

“Degreed engineers and IT professionals at NBCU deliver all aspects of technology for the corporation. This includes enterprise applications, technical infrastructure, technology for our production and field operations, information security, and web-based media products,” says Banerjea.

“We look for advanced technical and engineering skills. Some technical operations require specific expertise in media-centric areas, while in other areas we look for more broad-based experiences in various industries and technology domains,” he notes.

NBCU finds experienced candidates by tapping into networks like LinkedIn groups and industry publications and societies.

Early-career offerings
Through its Campus 2 Career (C2C) program, NBCU offers paid tech internships that provide real-world, hands-on experience in the television, film and theme park industries, as well as soft-skill development courses and networking opportunities.

C2C offers hundreds of internships in the spring, summer and fall in both the Southern California and the New York tri-state areas. Students must be eighteen years or older and college sophomores or above, with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher and unrestricted authorization to work in the U.S.

“We’ve partnered with the newly created Emma Bowen technical program to bring in high-potential college-bound high school seniors for summer internships in NBCU IT or engineering organizations. The internships continue while they pursue a four-year technical degree,” says Banerjea. The Emma Bowen Foundation (www.emmabowenfoundation.com) announced this spring that its New Media and Technology program aims to provide opportunities for students pursuing careers in engineering, system design, information systems, web services, applications or other technical disciplines in the media industry.

“NBCU offers college graduates a two-year rotation program in our IT and engineering organizations called NexTech that allows them to experience several entry-level tech positions in their fields.”

Diversity from recruitment to retention
Diversity and inclusion are important parts of NBCU’s employee recruitment and retention efforts.

“NBCU and Comcast recruit at the annual student career fairs for the Society of Women Engineers, the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and the National Society of Black Engineers,” says Banerjea.

“The recruitment effort is where companies first start thinking about diversity,” says Sal Mendoza, vice president of diversity and inclusion. “To me, it is equally important to think about how we retain diverse employees. What kind of culture and environment are we creating for those individuals? How do we develop them for advancement?

“Our diversity and inclusion department collaborates with our recruiting teams. We work with our organizational development teams to create an environment in which people can thrive,” Mendoza adds.

“A lot of companies can say that they have fifty percent ethnic minorities or fifty percent women, but then the pyramid effect kicks in, where you move up the ranks and there are fewer and fewer diverse people. That’s why we need to concentrate our efforts at every level,” he notes.

A diversity council made up of company leaders was established in 2000 to increase diversity and inclusion and to encourage diverse individuals to pursue careers in media and entertainment. Seven employee resource groups at NBCU include the Abilities Network, Asian Pacific Americans, Black Professional Alliance, Out, Unidos, the NBCUniversal Veterans Network, and the Women’s Network.

Partnerships for a pipeline
Mendoza wants to raise awareness of the many opportunities available to diverse communities in the entertainment industry, then help them channel their talents. “We do it through education,” he explains, “and the earlier the better. We expose college and high school students to our company through partnerships with film festivals and groups like the African American Film Critics Association, the American Indian Chamber of Commerce, the Black Enterprise Women of Power, and Hispánicize.

“We have invested in organizations that manage scholarship programs, like the Hispanic Scholarship Fund, Point Foundation, Asian Pacific Islander Scholarship Fund and the Thurgood Marshall College Fund. And we are in the process of identifying organizations that manage scholarships for people with disabilities, veterans and the Native American community.” The C2C program works with historically black colleges and universities, he adds. The company also partners with the National Urban League, the Human Rights Campaign, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.

At minority technical society conferences, “Our strategy is not just to attend and recruit,” Mendoza explains. “First, we want people to see that there are successful diverse individuals in our company. Second, we want to speak and participate on panels to deliver messages from a company perspective.”

Keeping the talent within
Retaining satisfied employees depends on recognizing their varying motivations. “We want our employees to know that they have an opportunity to contribute and grow,” Mendoza emphasizes. “Whatever path they want to follow, we want them to see that road clearly, and that may mean different things to different people.

“I think it’s our job to create an environment that will fulfill all those aspirations.”



Headquarters: New York, NY
Revenues: $23.8 billion (2012)
Business: Global media and entertainment

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