Creighton, Union Pacific Partner to Build Diverse Workforce

Creighton, Union Pacific Partner to Build Diverse Workforce

Creighton University and Union Pacific Railroad are teaming up to enhance diversity and build Omaha’s future workforce.

The Union Pacific Diversity Scholars Program at Creighton will create access to academic merit scholarships and professional development opportunities for minority students over a four-year period. Creighton and Union Pacific’s Community Ties Giving Program will each invest more than $1 million to fund the program.

“Creighton recruits diverse and high-performing students, and Union Pacific seeks the same in its workforce,” said Creighton President the Rev. Daniel S. Hendrickson, SJ, PhD. “Together, we will reach out to students from minority groups, welcome them to Creighton and Omaha, invest in their strengths, and provide them with the tools to succeed and lead.”

“At Union Pacific, we believe diverse perspectives drive stronger idea generation and spark creativity that, ultimately, fosters innovative solutions in today’s rapidly changing world,” said Union Pacific Chairman, President and CEO Lance Fritz. “This scholarship program is a step toward strengthening our future workforce and creating a diverse, equitable and inclusive community.”

To qualify for the Union Pacific Diversity Scholars Program, high school students must hold a 3.5 GPA or above in a college preparatory curriculum. Students must apply to Creighton’s College of Arts and Sciences or Heider College of Business by Jan. 5, 2020.

The first eight members of the program will arrive on campus for the 2020-2021 academic year. During their freshman year, students will be paired with Union Pacific mentors. As the scholars advance, they will engage in peer-to-peer mentoring and connect with community partners to grow their networks. Junior and senior students will apply to Union Pacific’s internship program for a chance to explore career opportunities at the railroad. Union Pacific employs more than 250 Creighton graduates.

Throughout their academic careers, scholars will enrich their education through inclusive excellence and cultural competency themes in their coursework, led by Christopher Whitt, PhD, Creighton’s vice provost for Institutional Diversity and Inclusion.

“Creighton and Union Pacific have a shared vision for Omaha to be a more inclusive place,” Whitt said. “Our Jesuit, Catholic mission — paired with Union Pacific’s commitment to building a workforce that represents the communities it serves — offers a framework to help make this vision a reality.”

The Union Pacific Diversity Scholars Program supports the high-priority initiatives identified in a recently published report by Blueprint Nebraska, a group of business and civic leaders working to enhance economic advantages for all Nebraskans.

“We are focused on promoting diversity and inclusion in Nebraska, not only to attract and retain top talent, but because it’s the right thing to do,” Fritz said. “Working together, we can help make Nebraska the most welcoming state in the Midwest.”