HBCU Professional Development Program


Program Description

In partnership with architecture firms across the country and seven Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU), the National Organization of Minority Architects (NOMA) has developed a professional development program to advance the promise to diversify the architectural profession. HBCU’s cultivate a large pool of BIPOC talent. It is essential that NOMA create opportunities where these students can gain better access to professionals for mentorship, networking, and the establishment of pipelines for Black and Brown talent to emerge and continue to make advancements within the AEC industry.

Program Goals

The goal of the program is threefold. Goal one is to help students and HBCU’s build a pipeline with award winning firms across the country that have expressed an interest in advancing diversity in the profession. Goal two is to support students from HBCU’s in securing entry-level positions with these large-scale architecture firms. Goal three is to develop a community of professionals in architecture that will continue to support diversity within the profession through continued mentorship of students from HBCUs. It is NOMA’s expectation that through this program, we will continue to shine a light on the need for diversity in order to foster the change we have seen in other areas of the profession.

Program Duration

The HBCU Professional Development Program (PDP) is a nine-month long program beginning in September and concluding in May. Students from the seven Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) with dedicated architectural programs will be invited to join the program year cohort. Eligible students will be required to attend all events for the remainder of the program year. They will be required to check in quarterly upon their first job placement in order to update the program on their progress and needs for their first five emerging years.


Applicants must be a student or graduate of one of the seven HBCUs with accredited architecture program and (a) currently enrolled in their final 2 years of a 4-year undergraduate program, or (b) currently enrolled in their final 3 years of 5-year undergraduate program, or (c) currently enrolled as a graduate student in an M.Arch program, or (d) an Emerging Professionals within their first two years after graduation. Students graduating in the Spring semester are highly encouraged to participate. Students from both NAAB-accredited and non-accredited architecture programs may apply. Applicants must be eligible to work in the United States for the entire program. All student participant are encouraged to be current paid members of NOMA by the 1st of October of each program year.

Eligible schools:

  • Florida A&M University
  • Hampton University
  • Howard University
  • Morgan State University
  • Prairie View A&M University
  • Tuskegee University
  • University of the District of Columbia


Hbcu Career Fair 1
Career Fair via Zoom

Speed Networking Event

The speed networking workshop will be hosted on Zoom. The moderator will hold a brief welcome session with all in attendance in one room where schools and firms will be introduced. Introductions will be limited to 10 minutes to ensure that there is plenty of time for one-on-one meetings with students.

After the welcome session, firm representatives will be placed in their breakout “rooms”. Zoom limits us to 50 rooms. Students will move from room to room based on a schedule they will be given before the start of the workshop. The same schedule will be shared with each firm representative so you know who you should be meeting with during every timeslot. An alert will be sent to everyone in each room as the time approaches so student can move to the next room.

At the conclusion of the workshop, we will bring everyone back to the main room for a fifteen-minute general feedback session with all students. We will then ask the students to leave so firms have an opportunity to share any private feedback about the schools with the program team and general impression about the workshop and any recommendations related to planning of January career fair.

It is up to the discretion of the firm to ensure they have an adequate number of firm representatives for each breakout room. The PDP program suggests a minimum of two representatives per assigned breakout room. Participants in each room should include one person who has the capacity to make hiring decisions. The breakout room schedules will be sent out prior to the program’s events.

  • Material Submission: Participants will present their portfolios and resumes during the breakout room sessions. It will be up to the firm to provide critiques and feedback that the participants can incorporate into their work in preparation of the career fair in January.
  • Follow Up: Following the scheduled event, the program team will send out a series of post workshop surveys designed to gather information on all participants’ experiences.

HBCU Career Fair

The PDP team will then begin planning for the career fair planned in January. The career fair will follow a similar format as the workshop with virtual breakout rooms but possibly more time for students to meet with potential employers. The career fair will conclude with a general feedback session with the students and another private session with the program team for feedback on student progress.

  • Material Submission: The PDP team will request that students submit resumes and portfolio samples for pre-screening by the PDP program team in advance of the career fair.
    Matching of firms and students: Firms will receive a list of participants who sought to meet with you but were not assigned to your breakout rooms. Optional virtual interviews can be conducted at the discretion of participating firms.
  • Follow Up: Following the career fair in January, the program team will send out a series of post fair surveys designed to gather information on career fairs the firms participated in after the program in January, plans to hire any of the students met at the HBCU events and ways to improve the program moving forward.
  • Reporting: In addition to providing feedback on the surveys following each firm event, firms will be required to report back their hiring of participants from within the program.


Periodic program events designed to support student professional development.

  • Interview Skills Workshop
  • Financial Planning Workshop
  • Workplace Etiquette Workshop


Firm Commitments:

  • Firm Participation: A minimum of two offices are encouraged to participate. We request that there be one representative from your firm to serve as the point of contact. By participating, you are agreeing to hire at least one student from the program year.
  • Mentoring Component: Firms are expected to provide mentorship to some of the participants they meet with prior to the Career Fair. It is encouraged to continue mentor relationships with those students who are not hired at your firm. Although it is the responsibility of the students to drive the mentor/mentee relationship, NOMA recommends that firms actively participate as mentors for the duration of the program year.
  • Participation: Continuity is essential to the success of the program. At a minimum, the same firm participants from the Resume & Portfolio workshop are encouraged to participate in the Career Fair.


Oct 7: Student Info Session 

Oct 15: Deadline to confirm participation (students and firms) 

Oct 18 – Oct 22: Student Speed Networking Registration 

Oct 26: Firm Speed Networking Orientation 

Oct 27: Student Speed Networking Orientation  

Oct 30: Speed Networking Workshop 


Student Interview Skills Workshop


HBCU Career Fair Firm Orientation
HBCU Career Fair Student Orientation
HBCU Career Fair
Firm representative to provide names of breakout room participants
Program Schedule provided to students and firms (Any requested changes must be provided one week prior to the event)
Survey to be sent out from PDP Team
Firm Survey sent out


Optional Interviews
Virtual interviews conducted at the discretion of participating firms with students they did not meet in the speed networking event or the career fair. Firms are encouraged to reach out to potential candidates for hire and continue mentorship.


University Hosted Career Fairs


Student Financial Planning Workshop


Student Workplace Etiquette Workshop


HBCU Firm Placement Survey to be submitted by participating Firms.

*Actual dates to be determined after form and student sign-up