IAB Education Foundation: What Do We Want? Diversity When Do We Want It? NOW!

IAB Education Foundation What Do We Want Diversity When Do We Want It NOWWhat does digital media need?

There are a host of things, assuredly, but one biggie is the inclusion of more people who represent the diversity of the country.

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) wants to do something about it. The IAB just revealed plans to strengthen diversity in the digital media and marketing industries.

“The Diversity Dividend and the Looming Skills Gap in the Interactive Media Industry,” a report it released this week, “summarizes the current state of the interactive media and marketing workforce and reveals next steps the Foundation is taking to educate, welcome and sustain a growing industry that embraces racial, gender, economic, and cultural diversity,” reports the IAB.

The Foundation will establish a dedicated initiative called iDiverse, capable of training 2,000 entry-level candidates, increase the diversity of the ecosystem’s candidate pool by 50 percent, and increase total employee diversity and retention statistics by 25 percent by 2020.

The publication merges findings from “Voices United,” a four-month, multi-city diversity workshop and listening tour co-led by AOL Chairman and CEO Tim Armstrong, who serves as IAB Education Foundation Chairman of the Board, and Freada Kapor Klein, Founder of the Level Playing Field Institute and Co-Chair of the Kapor Center for Social Impact.

“For the first time in U.S. history, the majority of K-12 students are ‘minorities’; this is our future workforce,” said Armstrong. “Collectively, we need to connect with all of our customers, and diversifying the industry is the only solution. The establishment of iDiverse will put the digital media and marketing arena on a path of growth in lockstep with our audience.”

“In the immediate future, the IAB Education Foundation and iDiverse plan to build relationships with science, technology, engineering, and math-focused nonprofit organizations serving underserved populations to attract a more diverse applicant pool, and partner with educators online and on-the-ground to recruit, train, and qualify candidates who reflect the consumer base of our member companies,” explained the IAB.

“The most diverse communication medium in history needs to reflect the full breadth of its users,” said Michael Theodore, Senior Vice President, Learning and Development, IAB, and General Manager of the IAB Education Foundation. “Creating iDiverse to expand our nonprofit, education, and funding partners will be a critical next step towards building a qualified workforce that will reflect the diversity of our industry’s consumer base.”