Students in Marcus Graham Project Visit Tulsa
NATIONAL NETWORK: Gathering at the YWCA on 17th Street near Memorial Drive for the Marcus Graham Project are, from left, Mike Cooper of AT&T, Oklahoma State Reps. Dan Sullivan and Jabar Shumate, State Sen. Brian Crain, Marcus Graham Project intern Jordan Prince, State Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre, Tulsa YWCA CEO Felicia Collins Correia and Marcus Graham Project intern Denzell Holland.
GTR Newspapers photo
Participants in the AT&T-sponsored Marcus Graham Project () are finding out first-hand how minority and rural communities across Oklahoma are using broadband technology to improve lives.
The two participants, Denzell Holland, 21, and Jordan Prince, 19, are part of The Marcus Graham Project’s iCR8 boot camp, a 10-week program that provides aspiring advertising and marketing leaders with the opportunity to gain the exposure and experience necessary to solidify careers within the industry. As part of the program, boot camp participants created a full-service agency called MetaTHINQ, for which they will implement a full-scale market research study focusing on connectivity.
As part of the research study, Holland and Prince, along with a videographer and researcher, recently stopped in Oklahoma City and Tulsa during a week-long journey that began in Dallas and ended July 18 in Chicago. Two other research teams left Dallas headed for Los Angeles and Washington, D.C.
The Marcus Graham Project () is a Dallas-based nonprofit organization and national network of diverse professionals focused on developing and mentoring the next generation of diverse thought leaders within the advertising, media and marketing industry. and AT&T recognize the importance of diversity and inclusion at all levels. According to a 2008 Bureau of Labor Statistics report, only 16 percent of employees in advertising and marketing were people of color. AT&T’s support of reaffirms its continued focus on diversity and inclusion in the workforce, which are essential components of a successful business strategy.
“We are proud to support The Marcus Graham Project and its mission,” says Bryan Gonterman, president, AT&T Oklahoma. “By supporting unique programs like the 2010 iCR8 boot camp, we are continuing AT&T’s commitment to the diverse communities we service and also making a difference in terms of diversity within these professional fields.”
As part of its sponsorship, AT&T will underwrite a research study to be rolled out by MetaTHINQ. The curriculum-based campaign will give the MetaTHINQ team the opportunity to better understand technology usage, the importance of connectivity and the existing barriers to leveraging technology within diverse communities across the country.
While in Oklahoma, Holland and Prince met with city officials and businesses in Arcadia, healthcare professionals at St. Anthony Hospital in Oklahoma City and employees and participants at a computer center at the Tulsa Multicultural Center. The students conducted market research interviews and forum discussions, as well as met with industry and community leaders who shared their insight on technology usage as it relates to their specific communities. The culmination of their work is a final research study they will share with telecommunications industry professionals and communities across the U.S.
“We were excited to know that a company literally in our own backyard has taken an interest in what we are doing. It truly gives us encouragement to know that a global organization has taken notice of our efforts and we hope that other corporations follow their lead in advancing diversity,” says Lincoln Stephens, founder, The Marcus Graham Project.
In addition to diversity and inclusion being essential parts to business success, AT&T understands that continued broadband adoption in the U.S. is crucial to empower communities across the country and support the development of a competitive workforce. AT&T is spearheading the effort to move this valuable resource into more communities across the country, and its involvement with the iCR8 boot camp is another way the company creates awareness about the importance of broadband access.
For more information on MetaTHINQ, the cross country tours and the research initiative, visit www.methathinq.com. For additional information on The Marcus Graham Project and its programs, visit www.marcusgrahamproject.org.