Interns in the program will all have achievable project plans to complete. “We want them working on real work, something you can put on your resume when you've accomplished it. And it's great for us because it can add value to our business,” Hailey says.
In addition to working with their individual hiring managers remotely as well as an on-site OpenText staff member, each intern will have a “buddy” they can turn to for questions like what to wear for a Zoom meeting and other workplace-related support. The buddies will be volunteers from OpenText’s employee resource groups, which they call Affinity groups, who are interested in being allies to the Indigenous community. Currently OpenText has Affinity groups for women, people of color, and LGBTQ, and is in the process of forming an Indigenous group.
The intention is to provide the interns with all the help they need to be successful in a work environment, Hailey explains. The program with Lakehead will be an ongoing commitment to the Indigenous community, she adds, and OpenText is also discussing a similar internship program with Howard University, a historically Black college in Washington, D.C.
Initially, the 25 internship positions will be distributed between the two schools.
OpenText will continue to seek areas where it can expand its EDI efforts, Hailey says. “It's very important to our CEO. He's very committed to the work we're doing here and challenges us on a regular basis, which I love, to think bigger, think broader, think bolder.”
She acknowledges that every idea she floats doesn’t always come to fruition, “but more often than not it does. It's very much a testament to our CEO. He's deeply moved by what's happening in the world, especially in the last couple of years.”
In a blog post on Canada’s first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on September 30th, Barrenechea wrote:
The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada lays out a clear call to action for businesses—build respectful relationships with Indigenous peoples, drive awareness around Indigenous history, and provide equitable access to jobs, training and education.
One of the most impactful actions we can take as companies is to create jobs.
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