Meeting the Needs of a Diverse City: 6 Questions with Intern Kendric Holder
Kendric Holder, a native of Atlanta, joined the City of Huntsville Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (formerly Multicultural Affairs) in August 2021 through the Office of Minority Affairs Co-op Program of the Governor of Alabama Alabama HBCU.
As graduation nears in early May, Alabama A&M University’s political science major’s time with the city is coming to an end. We caught up with Kendric this month to learn more about his experience and why direct access to municipal government has helped him on his path to success.
Check out the Q&A below:
How was the process of getting this internship through the Alabama Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs?
The goal of the Governor’s Office of Minority Affairs (GOMA) program is to establish a diverse talent pipeline between Alabama’s historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and employers. The HBCU Cooperative Program is a three-way partnership between GOMA, participating Alabama HBCUs, and public and private sector employers. GOMA will distribute the co-op app along with employer job descriptions to each of Alabama’s 14 HBCUs. HBCUs will nominate eligible students to apply directly to GOMA. Students will be required to complete 2-3 semesters of work to gain work experience in the field of their major(s). The process is extremely controlled, as I first had to complete an application, then an interview with GOMA and, once accepted, an interview with the City of Huntsville.
What appealed to you about working for the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion?
I was drawn to this position because I wanted the opportunity to learn more and better understand the operations of city government as it relates to meeting the needs of a diverse city. I was curious to learn and contribute to the initiatives and programs offered by the City to provide inclusive opportunities to different communities. It was a great way to serve and give back to my community, so I didn’t hesitate to apply.
What are your best memories of working for the City?
There are many instances where I have had some of the most memorable experiences of my life, but to highlight a few, my #1 would be working alongside my peers Aaliyah Abernathy, Lydia Conrad and Kameron Edwards on creating the Youth Framework / DCI Young Adult Advisory Council. The council will serve as a voice and provide a youth-focused perspective to the work of the Huntsville City Council, county departments and community organizations. In addition, the flexibility of ODEI was also a plus. No two days are the same, and I really enjoyed coming to “work”. The opportunity to expand my network and meet/associate with the many great companies, individuals and organizations that are doing great work impacting the Huntsville community has been well worth it.
What skills did you learn from this experience and how do you plan to apply them in the future?
I learned many skills such as developing, implementing and monitoring programs that promote DEI within the city. Additionally, be responsible for developing training and initiatives to create and foster an open and inclusive environment
environment. I was able to build proactive relationships within the organization and community to ensure alignment and focus on equity and inclusion in all diversity practices and issues. I can see this intersecting with the legal career path I have chosen in learning to establish and develop relationships with national, local and community organizations and professional development organizations, which is relevant to solving policy issues that negatively affect marginalized communities.
What are your next steps after leaving the City?
After I graduate, I will intern with the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation or the Southern Education Leadership Initiative. I’m still picking one or the other, but both are an 8-9 week engagement over the summer that deals with public policy, community needs and practical equity experience . After my internship, I will be moving to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to attend Southern University Law Center to earn my Juris Doctor (JD) degree.
Would you encourage other young people to do an internship at the City and why?
Yes absolutely! I cannot stress enough the importance of being civically engaged with your community. An internship at the City of Huntsville gives you the hands-on experience you need to succeed in any endeavor you choose to pursue. Working for the City also gives you the unique experience of seeing the city on a grand scale. This will give you a better understanding of how municipal government works and how you can impact the community in which you live.