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The Interactive Advertising Bureau Education Foundation and its iDiverse initiative said Monday that they are creating an entry-level training, certification and job placement pilot program for college students. Classes are expected to begin this spring.
The effort, announced Tuesday at the IAB Leadership Summit in Palm Desert, Calif., reflects statements the IAB made last year, when the group called on its members to hire 10,000 people with underrepresented backgrounds, including minorities, women, disabled individuals and military veterans, by the year 2020.
Students who complete the course and gain certification will meet with recruiters for one-on-one interviews to be matched with potential employees among the IAB. If hired, students will work in advertising operations, data analysis, sales support and marketing, the IAB said.
"Training is the first vital step in generating a more diverse workforce across the digital media and marketing arena -- but we're making sure that the iDiverse initiative goes much further," Michael Theodore, senior VP-learning and development, IAB, and general manager, IAB Education Foundation, said in a statement. "By bringing entry-level education together with benchmark testing and hands-on job placement, we're expecting that this pilot program will lead to expanded efforts and a real move towards increasing racial, gender, economic, and cultural diversity in our industry's workforce."
The program's four-month curriculum will be created in partnership with the San Mateo County Community College District, and Oasis Learning, a competency-based curriculum provider and technology platform, according to the IAB, which said it will also reach out to members to inform the effort.
Students can take the courses in person at San Mateo County Community College or online through Patten University. In addition, Oasis Learning will work with the IAB Education Foundation to license the curriculum to colleges around the country.
Once students finish their courses, they'll be asked to complete the IAB entry-level digital advertising certification exam. The test covers a broad range of topics that include media mathematics, compliance standards, policies and basics regarding the digital advertising ecosystem such as executing and research a campaign, generating tags and troubleshooting discrepancies.
Students will be recruited through non-profit organizations such as The Mission Continues, Women in Technology, Marcus Graham Project and the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.
Lauren Wiener, president of buyer platforms at video ad network Tremor Video and the the newly appointed chair at the IAB, recently told Ad Age a more diverse workplace is beneficial for companies as it allows them to get better insight into the audiences they are trying to reach.