In Minnesota, the Star Tribune has a fascinating story about how Best Buy is working with the Wunderman Thompson marketing agency and UnitedHealth Group's Optum unit (which is a pharmacy benefit manager and care services business) to "launch a paid fellowship program with the BrandLab that will train college graduates and help diversify the marketing and advertising industries."
At the core of the program is a desire on the part of all three businesses "to boost equity, inclusion and diversity within their organizations," and comes at a time "when corporate marketing departments and advertising agencies nationwide have acknowledged that people of color are severely underrepresented in their ranks."
The program, seeded with $1 million from the three companies, will start by rotating 16 people through the three companies, working in internships designed to give them a broad level of exposure to different disciplines, such as "brand and digital marketing, art direction, design, copywriting and media practices …The end goal is to place all LabFellows graduates in full-time positions."
The program is being managed by BrandLab, a nonprofit.
"One of our primary goals at the BrandLab is to create equal opportunities for our college students and alumni by eliminating barriers and building bridges into that first marketing or advertising job," said Thomas Toley, a director at BrandLab.
- KC's View:
I love the notion of companies finding common ground - the need for greater diversity in their ranks - and then developing a structure that can both build a foundation for greater diversity and bridges among the companies upon which qualified people can travel.
This stuff doesn't happen on its own. It takes time, effort and money, applied to the problem by people with good intentions and the ability to implement them.