IAB Tackles Diversity By Launching Education Foundation

New Nonprofit Will Increase Racial, Gender, Economic & Skills Diversity

AOL CEO & Chairman Tim Armstrong To Chair Board & Co-Lead National Listening Tour with IAB CEO Randall Rothenberg

NEW YORK, NY (September 30, 2014) – The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) today announced the launch of the IAB Education Foundation, a new nonprofit organization to increase racial, ethnic, gender, and economic diversity and improve peoples’ skills in the digital media and advertising industries. Tim Armstrong, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AOL Inc., will lead the IAB Education Foundation as Chairman of the Board.

“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. Under the leadership of Randall Rothenberg, the IAB Education Foundation will be positioned at the forefront of helping solve this issue that confronts our industry. I couldn’t be more pleased to help lead this effort.”

“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.”

Rothenberg said the IAB Education Foundation would also serve as a professional society open to the hundreds of thousands of men and women now employed in the digital media and advertising industry in the United States. “The foundation will serve both to provide the necessary credentials for people to enter our industry, and to help them continually improve their skills in order to excel,” he said.

The foundation will launch with a cross-country town hall tour to listen to the diverse constituencies inside the digital advertising and media industry, learn from their experiences, and gain their insights about how to unleash the power of diversity in digital media, marketing and advertising.

“We are calling this town hall listening tour ‘Voices United,’ because we want to hear from all constituencies, not just the department heads or top executives,” said Michael Theodore, Vice President, Learning and Development, IAB, and project head of the foundation. “The new curriculum and certification programs can introduce many new faces to our industries, but unless there are transparent paths toward upward mobility, true diversity will remain unrealized.”

The foundation’s first partner is the Year Up program, a national nonprofit organization that provides skills training to disadvantaged young adults and places them in Fortune 500 companies. Year Up will work with the IAB Education Foundation to develop an entry-level ad operations training program.

The IAB Education Foundation is being incorporated as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation, which will enable it to take tax-deductible contributions from individuals and companies. The foundation will develop curricula and certification programs in fast-growing areas of employment within digital media and advertising companies, including digital advertising sales, advertising operations and data analytics, and then provide the courses at little or no cost to qualified training partners, such as community colleges and workforce development programs. The foundation will be funded from a variety of sources including corporate and individual supporters, foundation donations, workforce development grants, and the IAB itself.

The news was released at this year’s IAB MIXX Conference in New York City. For questions about the IAB Education Foundation and the upcoming series of town halls, email foundation@iab.com.

About the IAB
The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) empowers the media and marketing industries to thrive in the digital economy. It is comprised of more than 650 leading media and technology companies that are responsible for selling, distributing and optimizing digital advertising and marketing. Together, they account for 86 percent of online advertising in the United States. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. The organization is committed to professional development, elevating the knowledge, skills, and expertise of individuals across the digital marketing industry. The IAB also educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City.

Media Contact
Laura Goldberg

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