VMLY&R, a global brand and customer experience agency based in New York City, will open its doors this month to a new Detroit Experience Studio (DES), a 10-week immersive program where high school students can explore creative careers, build skills in marketing, advertising, and design, and work alongside industry experts and leaders.
“There is so much creative talent in the city of Detroit. Unfortunately, there are also so many barriers to enter industries like advertising,” says Nikeisha Beckford, chair of DES’s advisory board. “Detroit Experience Studio is designed to empower young people to not only think about having traditional careers like being a doctor or a lawyer, but also consider careers like a creative director or a UX designer.”
Rooted in the Detroit community, DES was created to inspire the next generation of creative trailblazers and to address the racial inequity that exists in the creative industry. Black employees currently make up approximately 7 percent of the jobs in advertising.
DES will run two cohorts a year — one in the fall from October to January and one in winter from March to May, with 20 students in its inaugural year. The program meets twice a week, and class sessions are two hours each day.
DES is a free program for all student participants. It is funded by a multi-year grant through VMLY&R’s parent company, WPP based in London, and developed in partnership with its sister agencies, Makerhouse and UWG, as well as a few of the Detroit Public Schools.
“We’re excited to open our doors and work collaboratively with the next generation of creative leaders,” says Jon Cook, global CEO of VMLY&R. “The inspiration for DES is action-oriented social change. While it is a unique approach, hopefully these types of opportunities become more prevalent across our industry.”
DES is located on the WPP Detroit Campus at the Marquette Building on 243 W. Congress St.
For more information and to apply, go to detroitexperiencestudio.com