INROADS: Celebrating 50 Years of Pathways to Diversity and Innovation

by cdawkins

Pictured: David Carr presents MLK III with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the May 2019 Benefit Gala. From left to right: David Carr (Frank Carr’s son), Martin Luther King III, Kevin Lee, INROADS Alumnus.

From 27 students to 30,000+ alumni, INROADS has been changing lives of talented, underrepresented youth since 1970

Within five decades, the vision of Frank C. Carr has exceeded the expectations of so many, realizing a dream that started in 1970 when INROADS was established. As the founder of this growing nonprofit, Carr had a vision to solve a social injustice about jobs and pay equity to increase diversity in corporate America and to help multicultural and underserved youth enter the business world.

Today, Carr’s vision is realized and more relevant than ever in the changing space of the 21st century workforce. As INROADS envisions its next 50 years, its leaders are poised to achieve something even more transformative — advancing efforts to close the racial wealth gap. By continuing to train diverse talent to exceed expectations, reach goals, and gain experience, INROADS will continue to implement its award-winning programs for both high school and college students.

Carr established INROADS in Chicago, Illinois, with only 27 college interns and 17 sponsoring companies. Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech, he discovered his purpose and decided to follow his dream. Now, INROADS operates in more than 22 locations, including Mexico and Canada, serving more than 2,000 interns at more than 200 companies each year. INROADS is the largest nonprofit dedicated to leadership development for talented underrepresented youth.

To celebrate this 50th year, INROADS will be hosting a Diversity Disruptive Summit and its annual Benefit Gala presented by P&G. The conference will be in Chicago at the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place July 22-23, 2020. Visit for more details.

“Almost 50 years ago, Frank Carr was a disruptive entrepreneur and leader in diversity and inclusion, giving his time and resources to start INROADS so that young, diverse leaders could have the opportunity to become trailblazers in corporate America while giving back to the community,” said Forest T. Harper Jr., INROADS President and CEO. “INROADS prioritizes leadership development for multicultural individuals in order to shape the lives of these young people and develop a 21st century, diverse by design workforce.”

INROADS’ pathway of programs starts with College Links Scholars in high school. These students receive training for future internships. The program then follows these students to college to help them land internships at one of INROADS’ partner companies while mentoring them to excel in their field of study. The goal is to not only increase diversity within the workforce, but to also place them on the pathway of creating wealth and prosperity.

Harper said, “A young, diverse student in today’s economy faces many challenges; yet, we have a vision of fully prepared students equipped by INROADS with tools designed to enable their success in the workplace. You can see this in our alumni, and in the unwavering commitment of leaders like INROADS Alumna Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO of Chase Consumer – who once said that INROADS was the disrupter in her life.”

The INROADS Alumni network serves as ambassadors for INROADS in their communities, social networks, and workplaces. They have opportunities to pay it forward by mentoring College Links Scholars, helping to find intern recruiters, or sponsoring an intern. INROADS encourages the Alumni Network to pass the torch to the next wave of future leaders. Noted INROADS Alumni have leadership positions at Fortune 500 companies, including Chase Consumer Banking, EY, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, PwC, United Healthcare, and many others.

The work at INROADS is not done yet. Each year, more than 1,800 underrepresented students depend on opportunities to break barriers in their future. Help INROADS continue this work and donate today at

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