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Universal Music Group Launches HBCU Student Internship Program

Universal Music Group has launched an internship program in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund to provide Black students more pathways to careers in the music business.

As college students face fewer internship opportunities amid the pandemic, Universal Music Group and its recently-launched Task Force for Meaningful Change (TFMC) have announced a new internship program beginning next summer to provide more pathways for Black students to find careers in the music business.

Kicking off June 1, 2021, the program in partnership with the Thurgood Marshall College Fund — the nation’s largest organization exclusively representing the Black college community — will welcome up to 50 college students and recent graduates from across the country’s 107 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) for paid summer internship positions. Subject to coronavirus-related public health guidelines, interns will work at UMG’s New York- and Los Angeles-based businesses, with funding for travel and housing provided by UMG.


The TFMC, announced in June, is co-chaired by UMG general counsel and executive vp of business and legal affairs Jeffrey Harleston (who is also interim CEO at Def Jam) and Motown Records president/Capitol Music Group executive vp Ethiopia Habtemariam. Over the past few months, it has also launched a Youth Task Force offshoot and special programming to celebrate the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s Annual Legislative Conference.

“This program reflects UMG’s dedication and responsibility to provide a more diverse and inclusive future,” Harleston and Habtemariam said about the new internship initiative in a joint statement. “This internship program highlights both the remarkable talent within HBCUs and the commitment of our company, labels and brands to keep creating new pathways for identifying the next generation of industry leaders.”

TFMC Internal Committee co-chair Nicole Wyskoarko, who is Interscope Geffen A&M’s recently-promoted executive vp/co-head of A&R, added that while HBCUs make up 3% of all higher education institutions in the U.S., they produce 25% of the country’s Black college graduates.


“This program is an important and exciting initiative that will only enhance the development of future leaders at UMG and the music industry at large,” she said.

Added Thurgood Marshall College Fund president/CEO Dr. Harry L. Williams: “Our partnership with Universal Music Group will be a major game-changer for the students who attend our member-schools. These summer internships will provide invaluable experience and launch the career trajectory for so many talented students looking to work in the music industry.”

Applications for next summer’s program are open now through December 31, 2020, and are open to college sophomores, juniors and seniors currently enrolled in HBCUs. Ahead of starting their internships, students selected for the program will also have the opportunity to take part in a spring 2021 mentorship program, including events and seminars.

The announcement also follows the appointment of former NBA executive Eric Hutcherson to the newly-created position of UMG executive vp, chief people and inclusion officer.


“Investing in, discovering and developing future talent is fundamental to UMG and we’re pleased to partner with TMCF to not only give students a way to step into the music industry but to give our company a new opportunity to work with early career talent,” Hutcherson said. “This internship program is a reflection of UMG’s commitment to diversity and inclusion and an initiative that will have a wonderful impact on the company for years to come.”

Visit here for more information on the internship program or to apply.