Thirty local high school students are being put to test this week and immersed in the fast-paced world of digital advertising. Digitas is hosting a marketing bootcamp, placing participants alongside 100 agency employees who will help the students create a sample client campaign from start-to-finish.
“Every year, there’s this moment where you’re working one-on-one with a student where they realize that the thing they love to do—whether it’s drawing, or listening to music or tweeting—they realize they can turn that passion into a fun, rewarding career,” says Melissa York, vice president/group director of account management and chair of the Digitas Eternship program. “To me, that’s what this program is all about.”
Since launching the agency’s Eternship in 2000, more than 325 students have participated, learning the ins and outs of the media, technology, creative, strategy and analytics that run behind every ad. Each participant will also receive a one-hour mentoring session, where they will be given the opportunity to meet with four different Digitas employees to learn about how they got started in their careers, as well as what they did in high school.
In preparation for the final day of the program, July 12, students will be taught more about public speaking and how to give client presentations. Come Friday, they will be tasked with presenting final campaigns to a panel of judges comprised of Digitas executives and Nakia Navarro, New England Director of Let’s Get Ready.
Let’s Get Ready, a nonprofit focused on helping low-income high schoolers obtain a college education, enrolled 10 students in Digitas’ program this year, coming everywhere from Malden and Somerville to East Boston, Worcester, and Dorchester. In addition, Digitas recruited 20 students from Lynn Classical High School and KIPP Academy, both located in Lynn, Mass.
“If we are ever going to meet the needs of the global market, all students, regardless of race or financial status, must attain a college degree,” says Navarro. “Programs like the Digitas Eternship model allow students to not only learn about careers they would typically never consider, but also visualize themselves in said career.”
More than 70 percent of Let’s Get Ready’s students are first in their families to attend college, according to Navarro, making Digitas’ program a source of inspiration for those unaware of the career possibilities in front of them.
Digitas’ employees benefit from the program, as well. York notes the Eternship program “inspires creativity and passion” within the volunteers, and also helps junior employees further develop their leadership and mentorship skills.
“It’s one of our favorite weeks of the year,” York says.