by Hayley Feland
Twin Cities-based retailer Best Buy is running discriminatory professional development programs that are open to non-white employees only, according to reports.
A whistleblower shared screenshots of an internal company memo on the programs with O’Keefe Media Group, the group reported on Twitter.
DISCRIMINATION: A Citizen Journalist has revealed Best Buy is partnering with McKinsey & Company on a Management Training Program.
The program is not open to white applicants. “Candidates must meet the [racial] requirements below”
— O’Keefe Media Group (@OKeefeMedia) August 8, 2023
The requirements that applicants must meet include working in a salaried role for more than one year and “Identify as Black, Latino, Hispanic, Asian or Pacific Islander.”
According to a July 2022 press release, Best Buy began partnering with McKinsey & Company in 2020 to offer a “McKinsey Management Accelerator program,” which customizes its “curriculum and discussions to the unique situations, experiences and opportunities of BIPOC professionals.”
The company is now offering a “new, three-month program called Leadership Essentials,” according to the screenshots shared by O’Keefe Media group.
Applicants for “these programs” must attest to their BIPOC identity, the screenshots show.
Best Buy offers the programs as part of its “commitment to develop and support our employees who identify as Black, Indigenous or People of Color (BIPOC),” according to the July 2022 release.
“Best Buy employees are taking their talents to new levels through a training course that helps empower high-performing managers and establish a diverse workforce,” the release says. The company shared that as of 2022, over 200 employees had either begun or completed the accelerator program.
The electronics retailer explained that while the program initially started for Black employees only, it expanded to include employees who “identify as Hispanic/Latino or Asian.”
“Our main focus through the collaboration of the cohorts is to create a space where everyone feels valued and included,” Georgia Vahoua, a Best Buy diversity executive, said at the time. “In addition to the core leadership and management skills that are learned, each cohort also provides a strong networking opportunity for its members that lasts long after the program ends.”
A company employee who participated in the “McKinsey Management Accelerator” had only positive things to say about the program.
“Having other people of color in the program took away the façade I’ve always had to bear as a minority and allowed me to participate as a true student without having to worry about how I appear as a person of color in a space,” she said.
The company assisting Best Buy, McKinsey & Company, also runs a program called Black Leadership Academy.
“Building the next generation of Black executive leaders,” says a website for the academy. “The program is available at no cost and is designed to provide Black leaders a catalyst for growth to help them achieve their professional aspirations.”
This program from McKinsey & Company also appears to discriminate based on race.
Best Buy did not respond to Alpha News’ request for comment by publication time.
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Hayley Feland previously worked as a journalist with The Minnesota Sun, The Wisconsin Daily Star, and The College Fix. She is a Minnesota native with a passion for politics and journalism.