The announcement builds on the momentum begun two weeks ago at the American Association of Advertising Agencies conference in Orlando, where outgoing Chairman Ed Wax reminded attendees that their clients need diverse agencies to target an increasingly diverse consumer audience.
Through Partnership for Success, the Chicago federation said, it will place 20 minority candidates in full-time jobs within the next year. In a test of the program during the past year, the federation placed five minority employees at supporting agencies.
Hearst Magazines and Time Magazines have joined Chicago agencies Bayer Bess Vanderwarker; Foote, Cone & Belding; J. Walter Thompson USA; Tatham Euro RSCG; DDB Needham Worldwide; and Leo Burnett Co. to support the program.
Such regional adclub initiatives are essential to boosting minority employment in the ad industry, Mr. Wax told Four A's members.
The national association is doubling its number of minority intern slots to 67 this year and will visit 24 African-American universities to promote the industry.
Chicago Advertising Federation leaders said they looked to Boston's Ad Club Foundation for inspiration. Established in 1987 and supported by a $1 million endowment, the foundation runs an extensive after-school program in Boston public high schools, providing interested students with mentors from the industry.
The foundation also sponsors 30 paid internships and an annual four-year scholarship to Boston University's College of Communications.
"We want to do this because it's the smart thing to do," Mr. Wax said. "We want to hire qualified minorities because they bring valuable experience to the table."