Humber establishes scholarship for BIPOC in PR

Agnostic is leading a group of agencies in an effort to remove financial hurdles that can keep talent away from the industry.

With the hopes of attracting and retaining students from diverse backgrounds, Humber College and a group of communications agencies have come together to create a new scholarship program called the Impression Campaign for students in the school’s public relations program.

Created with an initial investment from Agnostic, the first year of the project will also receive additional support from Argyle, Edelman, North Strategic, MSL, Proof Strategies, Rogers Communications and Weber Shandwick. The multi-year campaign will encourage contributions from all those in the communications field going forward.

The Impression Campaign will start this fall, covering the entire cost of study for four racialized Canadian undergraduate students in Humber’s PR program. The initiative was created with guidance from Code Black Communicator Network, an online community resource and advocacy group for Black communications professionals and has previously pointed to education as an area in need of improvement in order to attract more racialized talent.

Through career fairs and one to one mentorship opportunities, the program hopes to let students of colour know that if they are interested in studying communications, there will be scholarships and support available for them.

“We’ve been working on for the past year is really trying to focus on where there are those barriers to entry for a lot of students when it comes to the communications industry,” says Sarah Crabbe, president of Agnostic. She explains that Humber found that many students of colour were finding it difficult to balance schoolwork, a job, or multiple jobs in order to support their post secondary education. The scholarship program was created to ease their financial burden and help them achieve academic success.

“Providing ongoing financial support in the form of scholarships to these students allows them to stay in school, focus on their education, and removes the concerns about how they will pay for their tuition and other related educational expenses,”  Anne Marie Males, program coordinator at Humber College, said in a statement.

Personal finances and the cost of post-secondary education can prevent students from pursuing certain fields, furthering their education or completing their program. Having scholarships in place can break down the financial burden of studying, and may help retain students longer, added Crabbe.

Humber is also working to ensure that upon successful completion of their program students will be able to secure paid internships, says Crabbe. Every agency that supports Humber can interview these students, offer them placements, or jobs.