The Los Angeles Rams partnered with College Track to provide more than 30 college students a day-long corporate residency experience featuring Rams front office staff. The event brought the students to SoFi Stadium as part of College Track's Career Discovery Externship program which connects early college students with organizations to learn about career pathways across different industries.
In the fourth consecutive year that the Rams and College Track have teamed up, students heard from Rams Vice President of Corporate Affairs Joanna Hunter on her career journey, Rams history, and organization structure and values. Following this, a panel featuring various Rams staff members spoke to the students. "We had great diversity of different departments represented and tapped into a lot of different interests in the group. We have people interested in engineering, we have people in marketing and all sorts of things. [We] appreciate the diversity because it just brought so much value to the students," said Dervla McDonnell, College Track Senior Director of Institutional Philanthropy.
By visiting host companies and experiencing a day-in-the-life, students can identify the types of roles that align with their interests and values and become aware of roles they didn't know existed. "It was really nice to hear from one of the [panelists that was a] math major and now they're working in analytics for the team," said Tamara Salmerson, College Track student. "I'm an engineering major, so, coming here [thinking] I don't know what I'm [going to] do. It was really nice to see, even for people in the STEM area, there's also [opportunities] for us."
College Track's work of intersecting education inequality and racial justice to serve students from low-income communities aligns directly with Rams' community initiatives. "When we talk about what we want to provide for the community, I think College Track is right on board with aligning with our pillars and serving the youth through mentorship. Also, by creating access and opportunity they can see the pathways that are available to them off the field within a sports organization," said Noel Grigsby, Rams Associate Manager of Social Justice and Football Development.
McDonnell discussed that hearing directly from Rams staff who have shared lived experiences with the students provided actionable advice and encouraged them to aim high in their career goals. She also mentioned how much it meant to the students to be welcomed into the stadium and the locker room. Being present in spaces that have been a part of their lives growing up in Los Angeles allowed them to see that these careers are attainable. "We really want to help them turn this degree that they've worked so hard for into a meaningful career, so [we're] just super grateful to the Rams for this partnership," McDonnell said.
Following the panel discussion and a stadium tour given by Rams staff, the students heard from Oscar Alvarez, Rams Human Resources Coordinator, on resume building and sports industry insight. The discussion provided students with insight on how best to include their jobs, volunteer work, and campus involvement on their resumes. He also shared best practices for networking and interviewing.
In 2020, the Rams became the first professional sports organization to pioneer a program with College Track. Over the past four years, the Rams and College Track have engaged 100 students through the corporate residency program. With the support of College Track, these students will be the first in their families to graduate college and they aim to bring access to higher education for generations to come.
To learn more about the Rams' community efforts, please visit www.therams.com/community.