The at-risk students in Santa Monica College’s Promo Pathway program are pioneers who have received widespread media attention.
They got to pose for photos with Jay Leno on the set of “The Tonight Show” and now they are gaining national visibility through the Washington, D.C.-based Skills for America’s Future.
Launched just 11 months ago, the Promo Pathway program is training a group of students to create promotional spots for television shows and films.
Next month, the graduates will earn a promotion writer/producer/editor certificate and could very well step into jobs with a starting salary range of $50,000 to $80,000 a year, officials said.
The program was created in partnership with the South Bay Center for Counseling (SBCC) and with PromaxBDA, an association of broadcast promotion and marketing professionals.
And now, with the addition of a new partner – The Aspen Institute’s Skills for America’s Future, a non-partisan partnership of businesses, community colleges and other organizations that seeks to ensure effective job training for the 21st century economy – Promo Pathways is gaining traction at a national level.
“I commend PromaxBDA, South Bay Center for Community Development (SBCC) and Santa Monica College for creating a truly innovative partnership model with Promo Pathway, and we’re excited to have them join with Skills for America’s Future,” said Penny Pritzker, Advisory Board Chair of Skills for America’s Future, The Aspen Institute. “The Promo Pathway program is exactly the type of partnership Skills for America’s Future seeks to highlight – offering underrepresented youth the opportunity to achieve industry-recognized skills and providing businesses with a pool of creative talent.”
A group of 25 at-risk students was selected for the 2011 program – the first such group in the nation. Each of the students has received full scholarships to cover not only the fees, but also equipment, transportation, child care and more.
“The PromaxBDA Advisory Committee identified the skills necessary to become a promo writer/editor/producer and together we developed the curriculum at Santa Monica College,” said Frank Dawson, chair of the SMC Communication Department and a former promotional writer/producer at CBS and NBC. “This is an incredible opportunity for the students and Santa Monica College and we’re thrilled that Skills for America’s Future has partnered with us to highlight Promo Pathway.”
The Promo Pathway Program is the first accredited on-air promotions training program in the United States that prepares creative young people, ages 18-26, from underrepresented communities for the exciting world of television marketing.
The initiative is an anchor program of the PromaxBDA Diversity Council, which is comprised of marketing executives from Fox Broadcasting, ABC, CBS, NBC, E!, A&E Networks, Turner, Viacom, Warner Bros. and AMC Networks. The program is designed to fast track the pipeline of diverse creative talent serving the entertainment marketing industry.
Students receive intensive training in short-form writing, creative execution, and video editing and production. Upon program completion, students will make the successful transition into the on-air promotions workforce, officials say.
Each student experiences two internship cycles. The first is a traditional internship that exposes students to the different functions and projects of an on-air promotions work environment. The second is designed as an apprenticeship with students working closely beside a writer, producer or editor. In order to further ensure the students’ successful transition into the industry, PromaxBDA matches each one with an executive mentor in on-air promotions.
The students receive wrap-around supportive services from a Student Support Specialist that is employed by the South Bay Center for Community Development who attends class with the students and assists them.
This intensive level of support is designed specifically to address the challenges that low-income and underrepresented students face in a post-secondary environment including transportation, housing, and the balance of work, family and school.
It also helps prepare and transition the students into the workforce.