Kendric Holder, an Atlanta native, joined the City of Huntsville’s Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (formerly Multicultural Affairs) in August 2021 through the Alabama Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs Alabama HBCU Co-Op Program.
Approaching graduation in early May, the Alabama A&M University political science major’s time with the City is coming to an end. We caught up with Kendric this month to learn about his experience and why having direct access to municipal government has helped him on his journey to success.
Check out the Q&A below:
What was the process of getting this internship through the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs Alabama like?
The purpose of the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs (GOMA) program is to establish a pipeline for diverse talent between Alabama’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and employers. The HBCU Co-Op Program is a three-way partnership between GOMA, participating Alabama HBCUs and employers in the public and private sectors. GOMA will distribute the co-op application with employer job descriptions to each of the 14 Alabama HBCUs. HBCUs will nominate eligible students to apply directly to GOMA. Students will be required to complete 2-3 work semesters to gain a sense of professional experience in the area of their major(s). The process is extremely vetted, as I first had to complete an application, then interview with GOMA, and upon acceptance, interview with the City of Huntsville.
What about working for the Office of Diversity, Equity & Inclusion appealed to you?
I was attracted to this position because I wanted to have the opportunity to learn more and have a better understanding of the operations of the municipal government as it related to addressing the needs of a diverse city. I was curious to learn and contribute to initiatives and programs the City offered to provide inclusive opportunities for the different communities. This was a great way to serve and give back to my community, so I didn’t hesitate to apply.
What are some of your best memories of working for the City?
There are numerous instances where I had some of the most memorable experiences of my life, but just to highlight a few, my No. 1 would be working alongside my peers Aaliyah Abernathy, Lydia Conrad and Kameron Edwards on creating the framework for the Youth/Young Adult DEI Advisory Council. The council will serve as a voice and provide a youth-oriented point of view to the work of the Huntsville City Council, county departments, and community organizations. In addition, the flexibility of ODEI also was a plus. No two days felt the same, and I genuinely enjoyed coming to “work.” The opportunity to expand my network and meet/partner with the many great companies, individuals and organizations that are doing great work to impact the community in Huntsville made it all worthwhile.
What skills have you gained because of this experience and how do you plan to apply them in the future?
I’ve gained many skills such as developing, implementing and monitoring programs that promote DEI within the City. Also, being responsible for developing training and initiatives to create and foster an open and inclusive
environment. I was able to build proactive relationships within the organization and within the community to ensure alignment and focus on equity and inclusion in all practices and diversity-related issues. I can see this intersecting with my chosen legal career path by learning how to build and grow relationships with national, local and community organizations and professional development organizations, as is relevant to the fulfillment of addressing policy issues that negatively affect marginalized communities.
What are your next steps after you leave the City?
Upon graduation, I’ll be interning with either the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation or the Southern Education Leadership Initiative. I’m still deciding on either one, but both are an 8-9 week commitment during the summer that deals in the area of public policy, community needs and practical experience addressing equity issues. After my internship, I’ll be moving to Baton Rouge, Louisiana, to attend Southern University Law Center to pursue my Juris Doctor degree (J.D.).
Would you encourage other young people to intern for the City and why?
Yes, absolutely! I can’t stress enough the importance of being civically engaged with your community. Interning with the City of Huntsville provides you with the practical experience you need to be successful in any endeavor you choose to follow. Working for the City also gives you the unique experience of viewing the city on a grand scale. It’ll provide you with a better understanding of how municipal government operates and how you can impact the community that you live in.