Angelique Nelson is a recent college graduate with a job. She was hired as a food service manager with Sodexo’s Currey Ingram Academy in Brentwood, Tennessee, less than a month after graduating from the University of Central Florida with a degree in event management. Although her mother worked for the company for 25 years, most recently as a general manager at North Carolina Central University, Nelson’s interest was piqued at a college career fair. “The recruiter made me want to pursue it more because of her enthusiasm and interest,â€ says Nelson. “Once I started doing research and found out [Sodexo’s] mission and values, I just knew this was somewhere I wanted to go.â€
Sodexo, one of B.E.’s 40 Best Companies for Diversity, hired 70,000 employees in 2008, 38,000 of them ethnic minorities. The company has been actively recruiting college students and recent graduates like Nelson, 22, for entry-level positions at conferences and job fairs; through employee referrals, online job boards, and minority trade journals; and at 29 colleges and universities, which are networked with various company mentoring programs and its Future Leaders Internship Program.
Sherie Valderrama, senior director for Sodexo’s Talent Acquisition Group, says that the company has been able to extend its outreach to younger applicants through social networking tools such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn.
“Sodexo believes that college hires are the future leaders of our company,â€ says Cassandra D. Caldwell, Ph.D., director of college and strategic relations. “College graduates bring fresh perspectives to our business lines, which gives us a competitive advantage.â€