AOL's Tim Armstrong will head up the Interactive Advertising Bureau's new IAB Education Foundation, a new nonprofit organization intended to increase "racial, ethnic, gender, and economic diversity" in the digital media and advertising spheres. The IAB, which comprises more than 650 media companies and accounts for 86 percent of advertising in the United States, announced the launch earlier today.
"The IAB has a nearly 20-year history of solving the industry's biggest growth challenges and will now focus on perhaps the most overlooked and untapped opportunity – recruiting and growing the talent and skill sets we need in our industry," said Armstrong. "We need a dedicated organization to focus solely on building a trained and professional workforce that includes all constituencies, many of which have been left behind through much of the digital revolution – minorities, women, the disabled, the economically disadvantaged, and military veterans and their families."
The IAB Education Foundation, for which Armstrong will serve as Chairman of the Board, will provide credentials for people hoping to enter the digital media and advertising industries, as well as allow them to hone their skills.
"The IAB is the natural choice to lead these efforts because we know exactly what the digital technology, media and advertising companies are looking for," said Randall Rothenberg, President and CEO, IAB. "Our certification programs have, in the space of just a few years, taught and credentialed thousands of experienced sales and ad ops people. Now we will be able to help an even larger number of people from diverse backgrounds obtain similar credentials and qualify for entry-level positions in one of the fastest-growing industries in the world."
The foundation will also run a cross-country town hall tour called Voices United, where a diverse array of speakers from all levels of the media and advertising world will share their insights about what makes their industry special.
Nonprofit organization Year Up, which places disadvantaged young adults with Fortune 500 companies, will be the foundation's first partner. With the IAB Education Foundation, they will create a training program for job seekers hoping to break into digital advertising.
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