More than 170 students from 43 different Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have been selected to attend the virtual 2021 NFL HBCU Careers in Football Forum on December 8.

Since 2016, the forum has introduced more than 300 students and entry-level athletic department administrators to career opportunities in professional football. Each year, the forum invites participants to hear from sports industry professionals and creates networking opportunities for students to learn more about their desired career path.

"The Careers in Football Forum has served as a tremendous event for helping diverse candidates gain entry into the NFL, and the sports industry as a whole. We are truly thankful to be in a position to work with HBCU students across the country," said Natara Holloway, NFL vice president of football strategy and business development. "The forum is one of several key programs that helps us build long-standing relationships with these historical institutions and introduces us to a diverse set of future leaders that will continue to successfully move our league forward." 

The event will open with a panel discussion titled "Business Operations Inside the League Office," featuring Hans Schroeder, executive vice president and chief operating officer of NFL Media; Dave Jurenka, senior vice president and general manager of NFL Media; Nana-Yaw Asamoah, NFL vice president of new business development; and Anna Isaacson, NFL senior vice president of social responsibility. The panelists will share insights on their roles and responsibilities leading the NFL's business operations at the NFL league office.

Attendees will also engage with NFL league office and club executives, including Brad Holmes, Detroit Lions executive vice president and general manager; Shaun Mayo, Arizona Cardinals chief people officer; Ted Crews, Kansas City Chiefs executive vice president of communications; and Jonathan Beane, NFL senior vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion. Covering football administration and careers found across the sports industry, other event panelists include representatives from ESPN, Twitter, House of Athlete, the NCAA, and others from the collegiate athletic offices.

Since the program's inception, 14 students from the forum have gone on to secure internships or full-time opportunities with the NFL, NFL clubs, colleges and universities, and other sports entities.

"The HBCU Careers in Football Forum provides an unmatched level of access to professional development advice and connection to industry professionals across multiple facets of the world of sports," said Micah Holmes, NFL Junior Rotational Program participant. "Being able to continue my work with the Football Operations team at the Careers in Football Forum allowed me to gain hands-on experience running larger events, but also see first-hand how important events like these are to HBCU students who may not traditionally have this level of access to the NFL and representatives of other large sports entities."

During the 2020 season, the league established an online talent community to serve as a source of diverse talent for current and future career opportunities accessible by the league office and NFL clubs. Through the platform, HBCU students can submit an expression of interest which outlines their professional experience, career goals and specific interest in working in professional football. Individuals can also interact with an NFL talent specialist to learn about league news, careers, networking opportunities and recruitment events after the forum.

The Careers in Football Forum is just one component of a larger initiative to increase career development opportunities for students and athletic administrators from HBCUs.

To learn more about the NFL's collaboration with HBCUs, visit the NFL Operations’ HBCU section.