By the year 2020 there will be 1.4 million job openings in tech, marketing, e-commerce and media. Not only do we need to prepare people to be aware of those jobs, we need to ensure that these jobs are filled by qualified minority professionals. At the current rate of hiring and retention, the industry will not reflect the population of the country until the year 2079. Our purpose is to make sure that we don’t have to wait for 60 years to add more perspective to media that touches millions globally, and career opportunity to thousands across the United States and abroad. Founded in 2007, the Marcus Graham Project is a network of diverse professionals that have found passion in our purpose – developing the next generation of thought leadership within the media and marketing industry.
Our mission and theory is that by investing in the exposure, training and mentorship of the next generation of talent, we will see a return in the development of a vast talent pool of marketplace leaders in the media and marketing industry.
The vision of the Marcus Graham Project (MGP) is to connect and collaborate with the talent development ecosystem, including higher education, corporations, agencies and trade and the media community to create a long term solution to widening the pool of diverse talent and leadership within the industry.
Marcus Graham Project and other similar efforts stand on the shoulders of Advertising Legend and industry diversity pioneer, William “Bill” Sharp and his Basic Ad Course created in 1967 with the 4A’s and J. Walter Thompson Chicago. Sharp’s lasting devotion to helping young African American students find careers in the advertising industry was the inspiration for the creation of the Marcus Graham Project 40 years later in 2007, also in Chicago. MGP was initially created as a digital network of mentors and mentees, however in 2009, we were able to garner enough community support to pilot the iCR8 Boot Camp, our first training program, which launched with 7 participants. Since then the program has continued to gain an incredible amount of attention both in the media, the industry and amongst current and future professionals.
We are home to an alumni network comprised of the most talented digitally centered, brand management, brand strategy, digital media innovators and creative architects of color. On average, over 90% of MGP graduates find full-time employment within 6 months.