Walmart and Sam’s Club Host HBCU Student Summit

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Walmart and Sam’s Club welcome students from historically black colleges for a weekend of professional development workshops, job interviews and networking at the first-ever HBCU Student Summit.

The 61 students representing 19 historically black colleges and universities began arriving in Bentonville on Friday, said Morgan Vazquez, senior manager of Walmart Inc. and manager of early career talent acquisition and programs.

Today and Sunday, students will experience a full range of activities designed to introduce them to Walmart and Sam’s Club’s commitment to diversity and the types of career opportunities they offer.

The weekend is planned around three parts, Vazquez said.

The first is learning more about Walmart and Sam’s Club, she said – “understanding the roles we offer here, what we have for them, understanding our commitment to diversity, understanding the role we play in sustainability and corporate responsibility”.

Second, students will be able to explore some of the culture and lifestyle of Northwest Arkansas. Vasquez said some of the early arrivals went to First Friday in Bentonville, and there would be outings over the weekend at places including the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art, Osage Park and Topgolf.

And the third element includes candid, private conversations about topics like what it’s like to be a black employee in a corporate setting and other topics that can be difficult to talk about, Vazquez said.

13 workshops are tied to these events, such as listening to historically black college and university alumni who now work at Walmart talk about their experience there. Students will also break into small groups to learn more about their specific interests, such as being a Walmart merchant or working in a supply chain.

Another aspect of the summit, however, is building relationships and networks, Vazquez said.

“We’re usually one of many employers on campus at different events, as you can imagine,” Vasquez said. “At many historically black colleges and universities, hundreds and hundreds of employers partner with them, so when we’re on campus, we’re often one of many.”

While brainstorming ways to showcase the area as well as Walmart and Sam’s Club, Vasquez said, “We wanted to bring people to us, so we decided to hold this summit to do just that.”

All students will be auditioning on Sunday, whether or not they are offered a job or even want a job at Walmart or Sam’s Club.

“Ideally, they’ll leave and want to work at Walmart,” Vazquez said.

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