Rick Wade Rick Wade
Senior Vice President of Strategic Alliances and Outreach, U.S. Chamber of Commerce


August 21, 2018


On July 30, leaders from the U.S. Chamber and Howard University convened to officially establish an important long-term strategic alliance, the Next-Gen Business Partnership.

The partnership, the first of its kind, offers a four-prong plan for fostering a dialogue and forging relationships between the business community and Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and other minority serving institutions. It will bolster diversity in the workplace, strengthen the talent pipeline, and promote entrepreneurship as a pathway to business success.

Among the programs are an executive speaker series, faculty and administration research opportunities provided by the U.S. Chamber, and an innovation and entrepreneurship development program.

The fourth opportunity – and the focus of the partnership’s launch – is an internship program, which began earlier this summer with eight pioneering students.

This group of interns – comprised of seven students from Howard University and one from Harvard University – were placed in departments across the Chamber based upon their interests and areas of study.

Our Chamber-Howard Scholars spent their summers immersed in industry opportunities. They had one-on-one conversations with Chamber policy experts and executives, attended Congressional hearings, conducted research, led special projects, published original blog posts, and mentored young entrepreneurs at the local Urban League.

As Evan Ward, a recent Howard graduate and intern with the Chamber’s Strategic Alliances and Outreach team put it, “The knowledge housed at the Chamber is unmatched.”

Each of these activities allowed them to break down assumptions about the business community and find their places in industry. Now, our student scholars are able to serve as ambassadors for business and the good it can do.

The goals of this internship program are to deepen these scholars’ understanding of business and policy and to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among minority communities. We aim to help students visualize their potential roles both at the U.S. Chamber and in business.

This program is not a one-time deal. Rather, we see this as a decades-long partnership between two Washington institutions.

As the Next-Gen Business Partnership continues to unfold, we plan to involve an increasing number of institutions.

We are eager to roll out the remaining three programs in the Next-Gen Business Partnership. Both Howard and the Chamber are committed to developing the workforce of tomorrow and the next generation of America’s diverse business leaders.

About the authors

Rick Wade

Rick Wade

Rick C. Wade is senior vice president of Strategic Alliances and Outreach at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

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