Verizon has officially unveiled its AdFellows program, a paid fellowship that will give 20 diverse young marketers the chance to work within the company and at its partner agencies over the course of eight months.
The program comes nearly a year after Verizon’s chief marketing officer Diego Scotti asked 11 of the agencies it works with to submit details on how many women and minorities they employed across different roles and in senior leadership positions. He also asked them to create action plans that would detail their plans to increase those numbers.
General Mills and HP made similar pleas to their agency partners around the same time, with the latter asking its agencies to lay out their plans for increasing the number of women and minorities in key roles.
According to Verizon, the company has “made tremendous progress in how it recruits and nurtures diverse talent” as of late. The telecom giant claims that 59% of its workforce is made up of women or people of color.
In the past year, the company's agency partners have made strides to keep up with Verizon's demands: 31% of those in agency leadership positions are people of color, up from 22% in 2016. In addition, 51% are female, up from 48% from last year.
Earlier this year, Verizon opened an in-house agency led by Andrew McKechnie, Apple’s former global group creative director. According to Verizon, 50% of the agency’s staff is white while the other half is people of color. Additionally, it is 52% female and 48% male.
Participants in AdFellows will rotate into positions at Verizon as well as agencies including McCann Worldwide, Momentum, Rauxa, Weber Shandwick and ZenithOptimedia. Verizon is aiming to place 90% of AdFellows participants into full-time positions once the fellowship is over.
The participants, which begin their rotations on Monday, Sept. 18, were selected from several hundred applicants of recent grads or those seeking a new career path.