Bus tour brings business, community leaders to TSU

Kelli Sharpe, assistant vice president of University Public Relations and Communications, greets Jacky Akbari, president and national board chair of NOW Diversity, as the Diversity Bus Tour arrives on the campus of Tennessee State University.

Nearly 50 Nashville business and community leaders visited Tennessee State University as part of the National Organization for Workforce (NOW) Diversity’s annual Diversity Bus Tour.

“The tour is to bring human resource leaders and business leaders out into the diverse communities for recruitment and advancement and engagement of their workforce,” said Jacky Akbari, president and national board chair of NOW Diversity.

She said the Diversity Bus Tour helps managers and supervisors better understand environments with which they may not have previously been familiar.

Business administration students, members of the TSU public relations office and Dr. S. Keith Hargrove, dean of the College of Engineering, greeted the tour participants on Nov. 8 with gift bags and brief testimonials when they arrived on the campus of Nashville‘s only public university.

Hargrove, who serves on the board of NOW Diversity, said he believes the tour will help these professionals gain a better understanding of the impact historically Black colleges and universities have on the community.

“I believe it is important that we display and share the great things that are happening at TSU to the Nashville community,” he said. “Too often many have a distorted view or perception of TSU, but our responsibility as employees is to promote the quality of education we provide and the outstanding students that matriculate at our institution.”

Akbari said for their employers to have a diverse engaged workforce population, they have to understand the culture of the students, where they come from, what they like to do and how they can contribute to the workplace.

“We know from Dean Hargrove that TSU does have some special programs that our employers are looking for,” she said. “The STEM programs that exist here at TSU are a unique opportunity for our employers to connect with students that are ready to make an early and significant contribution. We appreciate Dr. Hargrove’s leadership in connecting us with TSU, not only in his program, but across the campus.”

The Diversity Bus Tour also included stops at Meharry Medical College, Fisk University, the Sri Ganesha Temple, the Islamic Center of Nashville, historic Woolworth on 5th and Plaza Mariachi.

The National Organization for Workforce Diversity is a private, public and non-profit collaborative created to provide insight and leadership training to advance workforce diversity initiatives.