Editor's note: Brooke Reavey is an assistant professor of marketing at Dominican University, River Forest, Ill. Jamie Shaw is the executive director of career programs and employer relations at Dominican University. 

Imagine the dedication needed to wake up before the sun rises so that you can take three trains and a bus to make it class by 8:00 a.m. Or think of the requisite grit needed to work two jobs, one of which might be full-time, while enrolled in six college-level courses in order to contribute to the family mortgage and pay this semester’s tuition, all while maintaining a high GPA so that precious scholarship funds are not eliminated. This is the type of determination, work ethic and perseverance employers say they want in employees and these are the students that we serve. Why, then, are companies still having a hard time recruiting entry-level talent with these characteristics?  

We work at Dominican University in River Forest, Ill., a Hispanic-serving institution (HSI) that frequently recruits low-income, first-generation-to-college (first gen) students. Our university is dedicated to increasing social mobility – by breaking the cycle of poverty so that our students can thrive despite life circumstances. One of the easiest ways for us to help increase their social mobility is to assist students in finding high-paying internships and professional careers post-graduation in their major field of interest. As we have both discovered, though, that task is easier said than done.

Firms frequently issue statements regarding their commitment to a diverse workforce and we truly believe companies want to be inclusive but often fall short. If your organization is wholeheartedly interested in a diverse workforce, we have a few ideas for you to consider based on our experience of helping organizations recruit and retain our diverse students. Our employer partners (many national and international comp...