PGA ploughs $2.5m into workforce diversity programme

PGA ploughs $2.5m into workforce diversity programme

Scholarships and career events will complement fellowship programme to attract diverse talent into the golf industry

A project designed to diversify the golf industry’s workforce will be expanded following an investment of $2.5m over the next five years.

Originally devised as a fellowship programme, PGA Works will now support university scholarships and host career expos for talented individuals from diverse backgrounds.

The former, known as the PGA Works Golf Management University Programme Scholarships, will give 85 people the chance to pursue a PGA Professional Golf Management degree – a springboard to becoming a full PGA member.

Two career events are also being hosted by the PGA. Last week, Florida’s Port St Lucie golf club hosted the PGA Work Collegiate Championship and Career Expo, in which 1,000 student athletes from Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) – institutions where nearly one-third of African Americans earn their bachelor’s degree – competed in a tournament while exploring career opportunities with the golf industry’s leading employers.

Beyond the Green is the second career event. Hosted onsite at a major PGA Championships, the event has been devised to give high-school and college-age students the opportunity to take part in career exploration workshops.

Sandy Cross, the PGA’s chief people officer, said that is was “critical” for people from diverse backgrounds to see others from similar backgrounds working in the sport “if they’re going to consider the game as either a leisure activity or career.”

“We recognise that in order to fulfill the PGA of America’s mission of serving our members and growing participation in the sport of golf, we must expand the dimensions of diversity represented in the industry’s workforce,” she added.

Diversity in the golf industry’s workforce is negligible. According to figures from the PGA, boards, senior leadership and full-time staff within the sector are 95%, 97% and 86% white respectively.

However, of the 2.6 million people who took up golf as a sport in 2018, around a quarter (26%) came from non-Caucasian backgrounds.

The original fellowship programme, which gave several post graduates year-long, entry-level employment opportunities at PGA offices across the country, will continue. Participants are offered experiences within golf philanthropy, operations and administration.

PGA Reach, the organisation’s charitable foundation, is funding the investment.

“We’re proud to focus on growing inclusion throughout the workforce through PGA Works,” said Ryan Cannon, the senior director of PGA Reach.

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