Promaxbda, SMC and SBCC’s Promo Pathway Program Enters New Partnership with ‘Skills for America’s Future’ to Connect Students to the Entertainment Economy

October 26, 2011



For Immediate Release

Contact: Karen Elzey, Skills for America’s Future
Rindge-Peterson, PromaxBDA
Bruce Smith, Santa Monica College
Rebecca Goldberg, SBCC




Skills for America’s Future Credits ‘Promo Pathway’ Partners – PromaxBDA, Santa Monica College and South Bay Center for Community Development – for the Industry-Recognized, College-Accredited Program that Educates, Mentors and Cultivates Underrepresented Creative Talent for a Career in Entertainment Promotions

Los Angeles, CA, October 26, 2011 – PromaxBDA, Santa Monica College and The South Bay Center for Community Development’s “Promo Pathway” program entered a new partnership with Skills for America’s Future, a national initiative to connect employers with community colleges to provide 21st century skills to American workers.

Skills for America’s Future, an initiative of the Aspen Institute, credited the Promo Pathway model for identifying a business need to diversify the entertainment promotions workforce and create a pool of trained, creative talent. It also highlighted how the program offers underrepresented youth an opportunity to develop their creative skills and work alongside mentors, advisors and potential employers using their skills as writers/editors/producers in the entertainment promotion industry.

PromaxBDA is the leading global association for marketing, promotion and design professionals in the entertainment industry. Through the partnership between PromaxBDA, Santa Monica College and the South Bay Center for Community Development, the program arms students with a fundamental knowledge of entertainment marketing, media and communications and prepares students to write, produce and edit promotions for the entertainment economy.

The Aspen Institute’s Skills for America’s Future is a national network of businesses, community colleges, industry associations and other workforce partners whose purpose is to address the dual problems of unemployment and the difficulty many employers face in finding workers with the right skills. The effort encourages partnerships with local community colleges, helping provide businesses with opportunities to cultivate a tailored, sustainable pool of local talent while also promoting economic growth and development within their communities.

“We are extremely proud to enter this new partnership with Skills for America’s Future as they recognize Promo Pathway’s innovative program that was developed by uniting the entertainment industry, non-profit and educational communities,” said Jonathan Block-Verk, president and CEO of PromaxBDA International. “The success of the program speaks to the incredible support of our exemplary team of advisors within the community who have come together to ensure that Promo Pathway’s students, mentors and participating companies thrive as a result of this unique partnership.”

“I commend PromaxBDA, South Bay Center for Community Development 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.”

“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.”

“When SBCC worked with PromaxBDA and Santa Monica College to develop the Promo Pathway program we knew we had something unique to offer students looking for a non-traditional vocation, and a workforce that was looking for a sustainable pool of creative, diverse talent,” said Jonathan Mooney, strategic planning consultant for SBCC. “With the recognition and partnership of Skills for America’s Future, we hope this encourages additional positive workforce models.”


The Promo Pathway Program is the first accredited on-air promotions training program in the United States that prepares creative youth, 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.

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 with any barriers the students might be facing that presents challenges to their success in the program. 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 challenges related to balancing work, family, school and helps prepare and transition the students into the workforce.

Skills for America’s Future, an initiative of the Aspen Institute, is a non-partisan partnership of businesses, community colleges and other organizations. Its purpose is to connect employers to community colleges and identify opportunities for leveraging and scaling effective models, so students can be better equipped with the skills necessary to find and retain jobs in a 21st century economy. Announced in October 2010 by President Obama, the effort had received commitments from some of the nation’s leading employers including: Accenture, Discovery Communications, Gap, Inc., IBM, McDonald’s, the Manufacturing Institute, Motorola Solutions, Pacific Gas & Electric, UPS, and United Technologies Corporation (UTC).

Santa Monica College is a public two-year college, serving about 33,000 students each semester, with a commitment to transfer education and professional training. SMC has the highest transfer numbers by far of any college or university to the University of California, including the highest transfer numbers of African American students and Latino students, and is the region’s leading provider of professional and career training.

The South Bay Center for Community Development (SBCC) is a private non-profit agency whose mission is to empower low-income individuals and communities through economic and workforce development initiatives, the delivery of family support services, and community organizing.

PromaxBDA ( is a global, non-profit association dedicated to being the leading resource for education, community, creative inspiration and career development for marketing, promotion and design professionals within the entertainment/information industry.

The Aspen Institute mission is twofold: to foster values-based leadership, encouraging individuals to reflect on the ideals and ideas that define a good society, and to provide a neutral and balanced venue for discussing and acting on critical issues. The Aspen Institute does this primarily in four ways: seminars, young-leader fellowships around the globe, policy programs, and public conferences and events. The Institute is based in Washington, DC; Aspen, Colorado; and on the Wye River on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. It also has offices in New York City and an international network of partners.


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