Insights > Entergy supports “Level Up” program to elevate opportunities for minorities in the technology field
Entergy supports “Level Up” program to elevate opportunities for minorities in the technology field
A new program at Grambling State University that seeks to address the representation of minorities in the technology field is off to a strong start, thanks to support from Entergy and a group of its employees volunteering as student mentors this semester.
The Accenture Level Up program provides students at Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutes an environment to develop fundamental skills in innovation and technology, while fostering the ability to build lasting relationships and career opportunities. Entergy is partnering with Accenture on the Level Up program at GSU, which began in January. Accenture, a global professional services company, is one of Entergy’s technology partners.
Level Up is designed to help participating students build skills in design thinking, storytelling, data visualization, product and project management. These interns gain experience in developing soft skills, such as resume writing and interview skills, needed to enter the professional environment. Human Resources is presenting the soft skills sessions. At GSU, under the guidance of Entergy mentors, the interns also are gaining hands-on experience working on company IT and operations projects. In the process, they learn about Entergy’s work environment, structure and focus.
Six of Entergy’s Information Technology professionals – Mandy Anderson, Timothy Angel, Heidi Howe, Michelle Lherisse-Smith, Tina Nguyen and Monicka Potier – are serving as mentors during the semester-long program, each working with a different intern. They meet with the interns via video conference. The frequency of the meetings is determined by the mentor and the student.
“I’ve really enjoyed meeting with my mentee and hearing about his goals and aspirations,” Anderson said about her mentoring experience. “He’s been asking a lot of great questions about work environment to ensure that he’s prepared for his first professional position. It’s nice to be able to share my experiences so that he can start off on the right foot.”
Juniors and seniors in GSU’s engineering technology program were invited to apply for Level Up on Accenture’s website. To be eligible, they had to have at least a 3.0 grade point average. In addition to completing an application, the students were interviewed by representatives of Entergy and Accenture.
Vice President and Chief Information Officer Michael Rhymes and Andy Armstrong, vice president, information services, traveled to GSU on March 15 to meet the interns in person. They were accompanied by Anita Mital of IT enterprise analytics, who has worked closely with Accenture officials in getting the Level Up program at GSU started. In their meeting with the GSU interns, Rhymes and Armstrong emphasized the importance of the program in helping to prepare the students for a career in technology. The IT leaders also asked the interns to share their thoughts about the program, including what’s working well and what can be improved. Overall, the feedback was positive.
“Hearing first-hand from these students further strengthens our commitment to this program and expanding it in the future,” said Rhymes. “This program is a win-win. Helping students gain real-world experience on our IT projects is a key part of a commitment to our communities and helps build a stronger, more diverse IT workforce for the future.”