Procter & Gamble to partner with Wright State on jobs, internships

The Procter & Gamble Company has decided to partner with Wright State University to create a pipeline of students with disabilities who can fill internships and jobs at the Cincinnati-based consumer products giant.

The move will establish a strong, direct connection between Wright State and P&G that could expand into employment for other students as well, said Jeffrey Vernooy, director of Wright State’s Office of Disability Services.

The partnership is an outgrowth of a P&G affinity group, which are employees with common backgrounds such as race, ethnicity and physical disabilities that work with company management to attract qualified job candidates and increase diversity. Disability affinity groups include employees with disabilities, relatives of those with disabilities and disabled military veterans.

“There is every possibility that once they start seeing our internship and graduate students coming from their academic programs that they may decide to do some additional kinds of things down the road because they like the way we’re training students,” said Vernooy. “That’s the big, significant part of it.”

The partnership, announced Dec. 14, was largely the work of TyKiah Wright, founder and CEO of WrightChoice Inc., a Columbus-based group that supplies organizations with underrepresented talent and focuses on internship placement, disability inclusion and diversity training. Wright connected P&G with Wright State’s disability community and disability services.

In the past, P&G had only come to Wright State to recruit Ph.D. candidates.

“They are very selective in terms of where they go,” Vernooy said of P&G. “We are really excited that we were asked to be part of this.”

Other regional universities will also be partners in the P&G program.

P&G is the largest consumer packaged goods company on the planet, posting $82.6 billion in sales last year and employing more than 100,000 workers. Its products include Pampers, Tide, Bounty, Pringles, Charmin, Crest, Iams and other brands.

There are currently about 550 Wright State students with disabilities registered with the Office of Disability Services.

Trevor Hutchinson, P&G People with Disabilities corporate recruiting leader, said it was “a breath of fresh air” to spend a couple of hours with members of Wright State’s Office of Disability Services after several months of seeking interest from other on-campus disabilities organizations.

“I am very excited about our future together,” Hutchinson said.

Vernooy said Wright State will be able to use the P&G connection to encourage similar partnerships with other companies with which the university would like to do more business.

“Procter & Gamble is one of the top companies in Ohio for the employment of people with disabilities,” said Wright. “P&G has done a very good job in recruitment, even recruitment for an internship level as well as bringing in individuals in middle and upper management.”

Vernooy said P&G officials will come to campus to interview students and that Wright State students will be able to tour P&G and ask questions about job and internship opportunities.

“This allows us direct access to really understand what kind of talent P&G is looking for,” said Wright. “That way we can begin to mold the students to fit the criteria.”

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