By Jessica Alexander
In February, the New York Yankees announced that they are partnering with CUNY and adding them to their New York Yankees Diversity and Inclusion Committee. The Committee’s goal is to “identify, engage and address issues related to equality, racial justice, and inclusivity” according to an article published by the Major League Baseball (MLB).
First formed in September, the Committee is focusing on creating diversity and inclusion within the Yankee Organization, providing their mentees with education, enabling and fostering socio-economic development, and creating health and wellness awareness. The Committee has partnered with CUNY largely due to how diverse its student body is across all of its colleges. According to the MLB, over half of CUNY students come from households where neither parent graduated college, while eighty percent of CUNY students identify as people of color. By having CUNY partner with the New York Yankees Sport Management Mentoring Program, the Diversity and Inclusion Committee hopes to bridge this gap between New York residents and the MLB. The committee expects to be extremely collaborative and willing to directly impact the people who need the most help.
Chancellor Felix V. Matos Rodriguez recently released a statement addressing this historic partnership. He stated: “CUNY understands the value of collaboration and team building to achieve important goals, which is why we are thrilled to partner with the New York Yankees. This new program will provide CUNY students with the opportunity to explore a variety of careers that exists within a professional sports organization while growing their professional network, as well as gain access to internship and job opportunities in this exciting field.”
The CUNY Athletic Conference (CUNYAC) Commissioner, which is the office in charge of all of CUNY’s college sports teams across the five boroughs, went on record stating: “We are thrilled to expose our students and student-athletes to career opportunities with one of the biggest brands in global sports and our NYC neighbors. We’re excited for all the planning to do for the benefit of our CUNYAC population.”
CUNY University Dean for Continuing Education and Workforce Development, Angie Datta Kamath, spoke to the power of a partnership of this nature. “The sports management and broader sports entertainment industries are growing and have so many opportunities for our students to excel in like business, data analytics, operations, health, media and marketing. We are excited about this partnership. We hope to offer the mentoring at least twice a year and focus on hiring opportunities as they come available throughout the year.”
The Knight News’ own Sports Editor Holden Velasco believes that “the sports media industry needs major tweaking, particularly in its diversity and especially when it comes to the under-representation of women. It’s encouraging to see the New York Yankees investing in CUNY students. Not only am I speaking from a personal level, but more so from a professional level.”
Velasco went on to explain how “the industry needs young blood with the grit and grinds CUNY students possess. The fact that the Yankees are giving CUNY students opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t be there is huge.” He knows that “the selected students will make an everlasting impression on the sports media industry. Overcome and adapt. That’s what they’re used to.”