Nordstrom Launches Product Management Coursework and Mentorship Program at Morehouse College

We've long believed in the value diversity brings to our company and our communities. This commitment includes improving pathways for diverse communities, which is why we are excited to announce the launch of a new Product Management track with courses at Morehouse College, a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) based in Atlanta, Ga., sponsored by Nordstrom.  

Starting in the spring 2023 semester, Nordstrom leaders and technologists will teach and mentor students within this new Product Management track. Students attending colleges within the Atlanta University Center Consortium and broader Atlanta Regional Council of Higher Education network of schools will have the opportunity to register for these courses starting November 7, 2022. The courses include:  

  • Computing Career Exploration: This one-credit course focuses on preparing students for technology careers at enterprise companies by giving them direct access to industry professionals who will share their experience and knowledge. 
  • Introduction to Tech Product Management: This three-credit course focuses on what products are, the role of Product Managers and what career paths exist in Product Management. The goal of the course is to teach the principles of Product Management and what it takes to be successful in this profession. 

"We see opportunity to increase diversity and representation in technology, and by partnering with Morehouse College, we hope that we can create more pathways for Black technologists and future leaders," said Ian Heisser, senior director of engineering at Nordstrom Inc. "Product Management is one of the fastest growing roles in technology and is critical to enhancing our customers' experience. It's critical that our product managers reflect the diverse group of customers we serve. We look forward to working directly with the students and building an even deeper connection to the Atlanta market." 

To start, the one-credit Essentials: Careers in Technology course will be available during J-Mester 2023, which is a short semester in January that assists students in the development of professionalism and leadership skills. The three-credit Intro to Product Management course will be available in spring 2023.  

"The partnership between Morehouse and Nordstrom is notable for two reasons. One, it will allow those underrepresented in technology to be exposed to different roles in the technology workforce. Two, fashion is a significant part of defining culture. Understanding the role technology plays in the success of a fashion retailer will help attract and retain technologists of color and will create new pathways for them to thrive in the technology workforce," said Dr. Kinnis Gosha Executive Director and Chief Research Officer of the Morehouse Center for Broadening Participation in Computing at Morehouse College. 

Nordstrom's Relationship with HBCUs 

This partnership is the latest step. We've partnered with HBCUs for years and are committed to investing in Black talent. Earlier this year, Nordstrom participated in HBCU Battle of the Brains where Nordstrom employees coached students from Fisk University and Morehouse College to first and second place. Nordstrom also celebrated the recent HBCU Classic with a VIP cocktail event and Pop N' Shop at its Nordstrom NYC store. Nordstrom continues to actively recruit at HBCUs and employs hundreds of HBCU alumni across its corporate and store teams. 

Why Product Management?  

Product Management is a high-growth profession with a strong job outlook and great earning potential. This is a field that welcomes people with technical, leadership and analytical skills, allowing them to follow different paths in technology, user experience or business. There is a large opportunity to spread awareness and share the impact of this field within business with students. We also know that only 8 percent of the US Technology workforce is made up of Black technologists and feel there is a large opportunity to grow this workforce.  

At Nordstrom, Product Management is critical to our agile Technology organization. From merchandising, experience, productivity and fulfillment, our product organization helps deliver on the company's Closer to You strategy. Projects driven by product include the replatforming of our Nordstrom Rack site and app experiences onto the same Nordstrom technology stack to better serve our customers across both brands, Nordstrom Media Network and price optimization, to name a few. 

We are excited to partner with Morehouse College on this program and are proud to invest in the next generation of technologists.