Workplace diversity aids Freescale Semiconductor
CHANDLER, Ariz. -- With $6 billion in annual revenues, 22,000 employees in
30 countries and more than 10,000 customers, Freescale Semiconductor Inc.,
a recent spinoff from Motorola, is one of the 10 largest microchip
manufacturers in the world.
This Fortune 500 company is based in Austin, Texas, but its global presence
makes it a leader not only in technology development and production, but in
understanding the importance of diversity in the workplace as well.
As Elizabeth Berk, marketing and communications manager for global
diversity and inclusion, put it: "Diversity leads to innovative solutions."
The company has organized employee resource groups, headed by volunteers
who devote time and energy to promoting diversity, inclusion and cultural
awareness in addition to their regular responsibilities.
Faith Yanez, supply management sourcing specialist, heads up the Native
American Resource Group. The group is committed to recruiting and retaining
American Indian workers, facilitating American Indian employees'
professional growth and development, and educating the company's workforce
about Indian culture and contributions.
Freescale designs and manufactures automotive microcontrollers,
semiconductors for consumer electronics, networking equipment, wireless and
landline infrastructure equipment, and other wireless products and
services. Its 14,000 products include both hardware and bundled software.
The company employs American Indians in a broad range of areas, said Yanez,
including supply management, information technology, analytical labs,
electrical engineering, services and logistics, and manufacturing.
The resource group's outreach to Indian communities -- there are 21 tribes
in Arizona -- covers a broad spectrum of activities, from participating in
pow wows to presenting a float, "Seek Challenge," in Phoenix's 2005 Native
American Recognition Day Parade to being a sponsor, presenter and
advertiser at the American Indian Science and Engineering Society's
national conference in November.
At the AISES conference, Freescale will begin to offer scholarships for
American Indian students in addition to partnering with Arizona State
University's Josiah Moore Alumni Association Benefit Dinner, a fund-raiser
for scholarships for ASU students. Yanez said that she hopes soon to have
two internships for American Indian students as well.
Working for Freescale generally requires a bachelor's or master's degree in
science or engineering, with a few positions in other areas such as
marketing and finance. Yanez said that she has found it important to
contact students before they reach college, however. "In our experience,
most Native Americans don't major in the sciences," she said, "so we try to
target them earlier by doing outreach at local schools and career day
fairs, such as the Gila Indian Youth Conference in Sacaton, Arizona."
Another problem the company has encountered in recruiting American Indians,
she said, is that often they want to go back home after college.
Freescale's commitment to diversity has been reinforced by the company's
new CEO, Michel Mayer, and its new position as an independent global
corporation. "Each diversity team now has two executive coaches," said
Bert, "and they report directly to our CEO, offering professional advice,
mentoring and advocacy for our diversity teams.
"This is a new and exciting time for our company. We are an independent
company with a high-performance culture, which is pivotal to our success in
the global marketplace. Part of being a high-performance company is
acknowledging and respecting people from different cultures, which allows
people to work to their full potential."
In addition to fostering diversity by actively recruiting, hiring and
promoting minorities, Freescale sponsors events to increase cultural
awareness among all of its employees, such as inviting an American Indian
artist to present his artwork. Diversity team leaders meet once a month to
talk about strategy and update each other on what they are doing. The
resource group also meets monthly.
For more information, visit www.freescale.com/careers.