Diversity continues to be a key area of focus for the AAAA and our members. Agencies are making steady improvements in workforce and supplier diversity. Several agencies have launched programs that will lead to a greater pipeline of middle- and senior-level employees in creative, management and media functions. Agencies also have recognized the value of working with diverse suppliers and contractors as a way to deliver value to their clients. Through their support and partnership with minority organizations, our members have been able to broaden the level of minority participation in outside contracts. In addition to supporting community-based organizations, AAAA member agencies are breaking new ground in collaborative arrangements with minority advertising agencies and media companies.
Multicultural Advertising Intern Program
During the summer of 2007, the AAAA placed 150 college students in paid advertising internships through our Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP). The students worked full-time at one of 77 AAAA member agency offices across the United States. The 2007 class was 50 percent larger than the 2006 class and had the distinction of being the largest intern class in the program’s 35-year history.
It was a noteworthy year as well for the MAIP Diversity Career Fair; a record number of companies—a total of 50 agencies—participated in the event, which is held annually following the MAIP graduation in August.
More than 1,900 racially and ethnically diverse students have participated in MAIP since the program’s inception in 1973, and the AAAA continues our relationship with program graduates through the MAIP Alumni Association, an organization created in 1996 to foster the professional development of MAIP graduates.
Operation Jump Start Scholarship Program
Operation Jump Start is in the second year of its third round of scholarship funding. Established in 1997, the program provides financial assistance to aspiring multicultural art directors and copywriters. Each Jump Start scholar receives $10,000—paid in two annual installments of $5,000—for tuition assistance. To date, 172 scholarships, totaling $1.7 million, have been awarded, and with excellent results for our industry–virtually every scholarship recipient is now working at an AAAA agency. The program is funded by generous donations from AAAA member agencies. By the end of phase three, a total of $2.5 million will have been raised for Operation Jump Start.
Recent Activities in Other Scholarship Programs
The AAAA’s New York Council Board of Governors created the GeneratioNext Scholarship Fund as a means of introducing local high school students to the New York City advertising agency business. The program is supported by funding from designated Advertising Week events, and matching the $100,000 raised in 2006, the GeneratioNext Fund raised $100,000 in 2007.
Twenty scholarships in the amount of $10,000 each will be awarded to multicultural high school seniors who have participated in the Advertising Futures Program. In addition to college tuition assistance, scholarship recipients will be matched with a mentor at a participating New York City advertising agency and offered the opportunity to participate in the Multicultural Advertising Intern Program the summer following their junior year in college.
“Diversity, How to Do It Right” was released in October. It is the first in a new series of “Diversity Best Practices for Agencies” booklets. Written by Adonis Hoffman, senior vice president and counsel, AAAA, Washington, DC, the booklet provides 10 best practices and a comprehensive list of practical actions that every business leader and company should set in place for diversity to work at his or her agency.