PGA WORKS Fellows Share Ideas for Attracting a Diverse Workforce

PGA WORKS fellows speak on “The Millenial Perspective: Attracting a Diverse Workforce” panel on the PGA Forum Stage presented by OMEGA.

More than half the U.S. population is projected to be minorities from diverse backgrounds by next year. For golf facilities and businesses to stay atop this demographic trend, attracting and retaining a diverse and inclusive workforce is a key strategic objective.

On Thursday, the PGA Forum Stage sponsored by OMEGA hosted a panel discussion ­– called “The Millennial Perspective: Attracting a Diverse Workforce” – devoted to this topic and how millennials view this challenge faced by businesses across the country.

PGA WORKS Program Specialist Rachel Melendez Mabee moderated the discussion, which featured 10 PGA WORKS Fellows – individuals from diverse backgrounds who work at PGA Sections across the country – detailing their experiences and expectations in the golf workforce.

“When we talk about inclusion, we talk about having an invitation to the game, and to the workforce,” Melendez Mabee said. “When you reach out to millennials from diverse backgrounds, they want to know the expectations you have for them, and you need to know the tactics you should use to retain them.”

Sgt. James Eugene, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, is the PGA WORKS Fellow for the Metropolitan PGA Section. He believes bringing millennial workers from diverse backgrounds requires a team approach.

“We need to have diversity in the group making hiring decisions at a business, and a team in place to bring them aboard to let them know they’re included,” Eugene says. “As an employer, you can pique my interest, but can you keep me there? I want to know that I’m not always going to be at the bottom, but that I can work and rise to management someday.”

Brooke Morgan, the PGA WORKS Fellow from the Northern Ohio PGA Section, agreed with Eugene, and pointed out the need for today’s golf leaders to help groom tomorrow’s leaders from diverse backgrounds.

“Since we’re not from traditional golf backgrounds, we need mentors to help show us the way,” Morgan said. “Having diversity in the people doing the hiring is a good start, and then helping us see the expectations for us is so important. Having someone like Suzy Whaley as PGA President is energizing, because she’s a wonderful mentor and a great role model for us to look up to in the game of golf.”

PGA WORKS is one of the flagship programs of PGA REACH, the charitable foundation of the PGA of America. It aspires to be the most valuable entry-level employment opportunity for individuals from diverse backgrounds to garner experience in all facets of the golf industry.