Terry Peach stated that General Electric operates in over 100 countries but "acts and thinks" like a small company. With a focus on innovation, GE works in a wide variety of fields, including such diverse areas as medical equipment, aircraft engines, and, as the owner of NBC, entertainment.
The company's core values are integrity, performance, and change. There is also a major focus on learning. GE's commitment to diversity is reflected in its diversity training, flexible work arrangements, "lunch and learn" sessions, accommodation of individual needs, and outreach recruitment, through partnerships with organizations like NEADS.
When choosing employees, GE looks for academic achievement, analytical ability, initiative, high self-confidence, interpersonal skills, change orientation, leadership ability, and involvement. They look for evidence of these qualities in proof of academic achievement, involvement in student organizations, community involvement, athletic participation, co-op positions and internships, work experience, leadership roles, and life experiences-even those that may seem irrelevant, Peach said. GE looks at "the whole portfolio" of a person when assessing them for employment. For example, a person with a brain injury who could focus only on the goal of finishing their degree could be a very impressive candidate, because of the initiative and effort required to achieve this goal.
GE opportunities include positions and internships for graduates as well as student opportunities such as co-op positions, internships, summer internships, and part-time jobs. Full-time entry paths include the Technical Leadership Program, the Financial Management Program, the Information Management Leadership Program, the Human Resource Leadership Program, and business-specific leadership programs and positions.
Peach mentioned that his colleague Rupa Banerjee is the new employment equity coordinator of GE and is also in attendance at the conference. He concluded by asking participants to share their advice and expertise on how to recruit more qualified graduates with disabilities, and on the obstacles faced by students in becoming qualified and finding quality jobs. More information on GE's opportunities for students can be found on the Web site at: www.ge.com/canada/campus