ELIZABETH CITY, N.C. (WAVY) — The Coast Guard is on a mission to improve diversity and inclusiveness in their organization.

So they’ve partnered with historically black colleges (HBCUs) and universities to show minority students what opportunities there are when you enlist.

Norfolk State University, Hampton University, NC A&T and Virginia State University were represented Wednesday at Elizabeth City State University.

“We wanted to be very intentional about our partnership with the Coast Guard and exposing our students to careers with the Coast Guard,” said ECSU Chancellor Karrie Dixon. “To expose students from HBCUs to the Coast Guard as opportunities for a career is something that is very meaningful to them as well to me.”

Vice Admiral Scott Buschman said it started when his staff wanted an event to reach minority groups.

“Making sure that we have a Coast Guard that is reflective for the American public that we serve, an environment that we respect all our employees so they can reach their full potential,” Buschman said.

Rear Admiral Keith Smith said last year when they held the summit at Norfolk State University, it was a success. This year they wanted to follow that.

“To attract the best and brightest we’ve got to be an inclusive organization, and a diverse organization, so that is why it is important for us to do that and make sure we get it right,” Smith said.

Aside from impressive helicopters, students and leaders were exposed to a career fair and workshops to learn more about opportunities. Dixon said this is a wonderful partnership that shows promise to what the future has to hold.

“It makes me feel great, it makes me feel great because we need to honor and celebrate the service that the Coast Guard provides to our country and their willingness to partner with an HBCU,” Dixon said.

Vice Admiral Buschman says they’ve already started planning next year. They hope to have more presence from HBCUs and and an even bigger turnout.