February concluded this year’s Black History Month. However, the end of February shouldn’t culminate in an end to efforts to celebrate the contributions of Black Americans of the past and elevate the Black visionaries of the future. To kick off the beginning of a new month, we’re shining a spotlight on organizations that have vetted fellowship and internship programs designed for emerging Black talent in the communications industry, as well as other people of color interested in entering the world of media.
In 1989, three activists for racial equity founded the Emma Bowen Foundation (EBF) in an effort to diversify the communications industry and connect undergraduate students of color with paid internship opportunities at renowned media companies. Since then, the foundation has gone on to help 1,300 students secure internship positions at leading public relations agencies and technology companies through its fellowship program.
The EBF offers three program tracks for potential fellows to pursue careers in: the Business of Media (sales, public relations and marketing), the Content of Media (news production, journalism and digital media) and the Innovation of Media (computer science, big data and communication technology). The EBF’s acceptance of those interested in the technological side of communications makes it much broader than most other programs of its kind. If you’re a person of color interested in information technology, web development or engineering in relation to media, check this program out!
Though the possibility of pursuing an in-office summer internship through EBF is tentative due to COVID-19 restrictions, the EBF program does not have a deadline for applicants and prospective participants can apply at any time. Selected applicants are notified of their selection for the program by May 1 each year. The EBF also offers scholarship and mentorship opportunities.
The T. Howard Foundation is another organization dedicated to diversifying the communications industry by connecting media students of color to paid summer internships in the field. The T. Howard Foundation stands out among other internship and fellowship opportunities for people of color because it also offers spring and fall internships.
Each selected intern is connected with a mentor, given access to networking events and is provided with complimentary memberships to professional development organizations partnered with the T. Howard Foundation.
There are more than 1,250 program alumni of this program worldwide and 157 interns were placed with companies in 2019.
The Multicultural Advertising Intern Program (MAIP) hosted by 4A’s Foundation of the American Association of Advertising Agencies is the perfect opportunity for students of color to secure an advertising internship.
Since 1997, the 4A’s Foundation has been working to support multicultural individuals interested in pursuing careers in the creative arts field, and the MAIP is a testament to the organization’s commitment to creating quality professional development opportunities for young media scholars. The MAIP is composed of a 12-week virtual training followed by a 10-week in-agency internship.
Those selected to participate in MAIP are also paired with a mentor, given the opportunity to participate in professional development events called MAIP Labs and access to multiple scholarship awards. At the end of the program, MAIP interns are invited to a celebratory luncheon and career fair to network and meet other participants.
To learn more about MAIP, listen to the 4A’s Foundation’s podcast, Left Unsaid.
The LAGRANT Foundation is yet another organization with the goal of diversifying the face of the media, advertising and public relations industries by helping to connect students of color with workshops, internships and mentors. The LAGRANT Foundation offers opportunities to get involved for both undergraduate and graduate students.
Each internship program the LAGRANT Foundation connects students with lasts a minimum of three months. Applicants to the internship program are accepted on a rolling basis. Students interested in conducting communications in the nonprofit sector are invited to intern at the Foundation itself!
The LAGRANT Foundation offers $5,000 scholarships to graduate students and $2,500 to undergraduates. Additionally, the Foundation has partnered with Wells Fargo to create a scholarship program for Latinx individuals in California.
The newest addition to this group of organizations is the FINN Partners Mentorship Program. FINN Partners is working alongside the Public Relations Student Society of America to connect students from HBCUs and HSIs to industry leaders.
The program offers students an opportunity to be paired with an agency professional, take part in a client meeting and converse in a panel discussion of other young media scholars of color. After the program concludes, students will be given an opportunity to intern at FINN Partners or similar agencies.
The program begins on March 10 with a cohort of 50 students. We wish all the participants of the inaugural program luck!
Readers should note that most of these programs require participants to be United States citizens or DACA participants. Some organizations may prioritize students from certain states or regions over others to better serve local populations.