Guest Author - Debbie Lester
NASCAR has always been categorized as a southern sport. It started in the south and has itís roots firmly planted there. In recent years NASCAR has taken heavy criticism due to the fact that there are not many minority or females working in NASCAR. Ten years ago, NASCAR began working toward removing this stigma.
In 1999 the NASCAR Diversity Internship Program (NDIP) began. This year they celebrate ten years of integrating people of diverse backgrounds into NASCAR. With over 75 million fans NASCAR officials realized that in order to broaden the appeal of the sport they had to broaden their own minds. This program was created in order to give opportunities to young college students from minority groups to see what NASCAR had to offer them.
The NASCAR Diversity Internship Program is a 10-week, full time paid program that will introduce college students to the many career opportunities with the motorsports industry. This program involves many sponsors, and licensees. As well as NASCAR teams, tracks and other motorsports related companies. Some of the over 200 interns over the past 10 years have accepted full time positions within the motorsports industry and credit the NASCAR Diversity Internship with their success.
There are several different types of internships available. There are opportunities in broadcasting, communications, competition, design, diversity, media services, sales, sports marketing, technology, engineering, events management, licensing, marketing and public relations. Minority students who are interested in or majoring in these subjects could be a part of the internship program.
NASCARís commitment to diversity has taken many forms. The NASCAR Diversity Internship Program is only one of the programs NASCAR has instituted to bring more diversity to the sport. Other programs include, The Drive For Diversity Program which seeks to develop minority and women drivers and crew members. NASCAR also recently developed the NASCAR Supplier Diversity Program which is a minority vendor program, which provides a more diverse supplier base. There is the NASCAR College Tour, which is a program that consists of spring and fall visits to Historically Black Colleges and Universities as well as Hispanic Serving Institutions to provide information and opportunities for students to find out about careers in NASCAR.
There are many other programs that NASCAR funds and helps to develop that are working toward removing the old image of NASCAR. NASCAR has grown by leaps and bounds when it comes to diversity. We hope to see the old idea that NASCAR is predominantly a white, southern sport, put to rest as more minorities begin to be represented in all aspects of the motorsport industry. The NASCAR Diversity Internship is leading the way to these changes. Students interested in the internships available should visit the website listed below to find out more details.