Friday, December 17, 2010

NAACP, NUL, and NAN sign agreement with Comcast to improve diversity efforts

The nation’s leading civil rights organizations, The NAACP, National Urban League, and the National Action Network reached an agreement with Comcast Corporation, NBC Universal. The agreement urges COMCAST and NBCU to improve upon their current diversity efforts in the areas of corporate governance, employment/workforce recruitment and retention, procurement, programming, and philanthropy and community investments. The agreement sets forth specific and measurable actions to attain these four goals. Key highlights are set forth below:

Corporate Governance: Comcast will create external Diversity Advisory Councils, including an African American Advisory Council, to provide advice to Senior Executive teams at Comcast regarding development and implementation of the master strategic plan to improve diversity practices at Comcast. There will be other diversity councils including one for the Hispanic and Asian communities. Meetings will take place not less than two times per year and Comcast’s Chairman and CEO will attend one of those meetings.

Employment/Workforce Recruitment and Retention: Comcast will increase African American representation and retention among employees and executives at all levels of the corporation. It will focus on senior management, mid-level management, entry-level employment opportunities, and current employment levels. They will build or leverage development and training programs to build leadership talent among African Americans within Comcast as well as enhance opportunities for further advancement.

Comcast will implement a boot camp for mid-level vice president candidates with no less than 80 percent diverse candidates. With the cooperation of the African American Advisory Council, Comcast will identify and utilize search firms successfully recruiting diverse pools of talent. They will have at least one person of color on every slate for vice president level or above. Comcast will provide annual workforce data to the African American Advisory Council. For the first time, Comcast will link a percentage of senior management’s bonus to the achievement of diversity initiatives.

Procurement: Comcast spent $84 million with over 130 African American owned and operated businesses in 2009. Comcast will strive to increase the percentage of business conducted with African American owned vendors to be on par with the percentage of African American owned businesses in the communities they serve. Comcast is a founding partner in Inclusion Initiative, a collaborative designed to increase significantly business opportunities for law firms owned by diverse individuals. Comcast has committed $1 million to this effort. NBCU will use its best efforts to utilize law firms that participate in this initiative. Comcast commits to engage and African American owned advertising agency (or agencies) to develop national and or local advertising and marketing materials. Comcast and NBCU jointly commit to spending additional revenue advertising with minority-owned media.

Outreach:  Comcast will use the National African American Organizations and the African American Advisory Council to identify opportunities for spending with African American suppliers. Comcast will provide procurement data to the African American Advisory Council.

Programming: Comcast carries twelve cable networks owned by African American interests and/or air programming primarily focused on the African American community. Comcast will add at least 8 new independently owned and operated networks where minorities have substantial ownership or operational control. Comcast will establish a $20 million venture capital fund intended to expand opportunities for minority entrepreneurs in the development of new digital media applications. NBCU has committed to continue funding a diversity staff writer position for each scripted series on NBC as well as its three late night programs. NBCU seeks expanded presentation of diverse viewpoints in its public affairs programming and will consider recommendations from the African American Advisory Council regarding individuals who should participate in these programs.

Philanthropy and Community Investment: Comcast has three investment priorities, building tomorrow’s leaders, expanding digital literacy, and promoting community service. Diversity will underpin each of these areas. Comcast will increase philanthropic efforts to African American led and African American-serving institutions. It will increase support for internship and scholarship programs for African American organizations with a track record of working in the African American community and will work with Human Resources to ensure that graduates of these programs are considered for entry level positions.

Upon execution of the merger, Comcast will begin a benchmarking study against which future progress can be measured and monitored. The study will be provided to the newly constituted African American Advisory Council.

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