Two recent graduates of the MS in Human Capital Analytics and Technology (HCAT) program within the NYU SPS Division of Programs in Business (DPB) had the invaluable opportunity last semester to intern at the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC). The EEOC enforces federal laws that make it illegal to discriminate in the workplace because of an individual’s race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability or genetic information.
As part of their internships, Nick Truxal and Jessica Blodgett, who both graduated from the HCAT program in May, collaborated directly with EEOC Commissioner Keith Sonderling on high-level policy issues focusing on technology and the future of the workplace.
For Truxal, a former K-12 educator in Minnesota, a strong interest in people analytics and its role in business strategy attracted him to the HCAT program with its emphasis on technology. The EEOC internship turned out to be a bonus. “I worked on the implementation of artificial intelligence (AI) in the workplace with the commissioner and his fantastic team,” said Truxal, who researched workplace trends and patterns, wrote articles, and talked to thought leaders in the space. “It was such an amazing experience.”
The same was true for fellow intern Jessica Blodgett, who started in DPB’s Human Resource Management and Development (HRMD) program before switching to the HCAT program. “HCAT focuses on the technical analytic side that I was longing for,” she said, adding, “The EEOC internship gave me exposure to different laws that address the use of AI in the employment space. We had just scratched the surface in class, but seeing it on the ground was something we would never have had otherwise.”
It was a mutually beneficial relationship for the EEOC team that is working on an initiative to get technology consistent with long-standing civil rights laws. Commissioner Sonderling, a speaker at the recent inaugural NYU Coaching and Technology Summit, noted that EEOC’s robust internship program typically hires law school students or those who want to pursue a career in federal civil rights law. “However, I wanted a non-lawyer perspective from people with real professional experience who are doing this very advanced program at NYU,” he said. “They are the ones that actually need to understand and implement the guidance we create in Washington, DC, and not necessarily just the lawyers.”
He added: “Nick and Jessica were absolutely wonderful. They worked on cutting-edge policies related to workplace discrimination and how HR professionals can comply with those laws in advance of discrimination occurring. They helped us with long-term guidance and policy documents that will benefit HR professionals from that practical perspective.”
Thanks to their experiences at NYU SPS, Truxal recently accepted a position as a senior talent analyst with Visa. Blodgett, a global HR manager at the nonprofit Global Citizen, said, “The use of AI in the HR space is only going to increase, and we will see more regulations and laws around that. We can serve as strategic partners in organizations regarding the use of AI and technology, and this is clear from the work I did at EEOC.”