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GroupM, CCNY Form Diversity Partnership

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GroupM, the WPP Group unit that oversees the holding company’s media shops, said Monday it has forged a new diversity partnership with the City College of New York designed to identify and cultivate college students for careers in the advertising industry.

The program, dubbed the GroupM Professional Development Initiative, will be available to students in CCNY’s advertising and public relations program and will focus on undergraduates with ethnically diverse backgrounds.

The move comes as the ad industry has endured several years of harsh criticism for its lack of diversity within its job ranks.

The GroupM-CCNY project includes a scholarship program, as well as a separate “enrichment fund,” designed to benefit a wide range of ad and PR majors by allowing them to participate in professional development opportunities in their junior or senior years. One example: Two students will be selected to attend next year’s 4A’s Transformation Conference in Austin, Texas, in March. Both elements are designed to help GroupM identify promising talent at CCNY  for possible internships and employment.

“Our goal is to help CCNY’s richly diverse student population discover and participate in the many challenging and rewarding career opportunities available in our industry,” said Rob Norman, North American CEO at GroupM.  

Lynn Appelbaum, professor and director of CCNY’s ad and PR program, said, “GroupM’s scholarship support and professional development sets an example for the industry. This is the beginning of a very important relationship and a very important learning cycle.”