BATON ROUGE, La. (WVLA/WGMB) — In its first action today, the Southern University System Board of Supervisors ratified an unprecedented partnership between the Southern University System and the Central Intelligence Agency.

The Memorandum of Understanding is the framework for the university system’s participation in the CIA’s recruitment and workforce development initiative, which is part of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities.

The MOU was signed Monday by Southern University System President-Chancellor Ray Belton, Executive Vice President-Chancellor James Ammons, and representatives from the CIA. 

According to the MOU, the CIA chose Southern as the first participant based on the university system’s accredited programs, the graduation rate of its students, and the CIA’s track record of onboarding highly skilled and well-qualified talent.

“Southern University is honored to have been chosen as the first institution to partner with the CIA for this initiative,” Belton said. “The reputable stature of the CIA alone is an asset to the university, students and faculty, and we believe that the outcomes will be mutually beneficial for all involved.”

Sheronda Dorsey, chief of talent acquisition of at the CIA, called in to the board meeting from Washington. 

“As an agency we’ve always prided ourselves in hiring the best and the brightest,” Dorsey said. “Southern demonstrates the value that they have placed in multiple fields of study and global awareness. I look forward to a long-lasting partnership.”

The MOU allows the CIA to engage in a broad range of classroom workshops, curriculum development, and recruitment activities to foster ongoing relationships with key university staff and personnel on Southern’s five campuses, and will provide for immediate contact with a qualified and diverse applicant pool.

The Southern University System is comprised of Southern University Baton Rouge, Southern University New Orleans, Southern University Shreveport, Southern University Law Center, and Southern University Agricultural Research and Extension Center. The System is the only HBCU system in the nation.