Howard U is partnering with Amazon to launch an entertainment industry training program - Technical.ly DC

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Oct. 15, 2019 12:22 pm

Howard U is partnering with Amazon to launch an entertainment industry training program

Howard Entertainment is a program for minority students to train with entertainment executives for the sake of diversifying the pipeline of talent in the industry.
A rainbow shining over Howard University’s campus.

A rainbow shining over Howard University's campus.

(Photo via @HowardU on Twitter)

Howard University (HU) is the next local educational institution to launch a partnership with Amazon.

The prominent HBCU is partnering with Amazon Studios on Howard Entertainment, a program for minority students to train with entertainment executives to diversify the pipeline of talent in the industry, it announced last week.

The announcement kicked off HU homecoming on Oct. 11, where Amazon Studios was the lead sponsor for HU’s annual free concert series, Yardfest. Latasha Gillespie, Amazon Studio’s global head of diversity, equity, and inclusion, was on the ground at the event.

Students accepted to Howard Entertainment will get networking opportunities and hands-on work experience mixed with a specialized academic curriculum spanning two semesters. Students will take academic classes during the spring semester at HU to prepare them for an entertainment fellowship over the summer in Los Angeles. And yes, the coursework will go toward students’ graduation requirements.

The program officially starts in January 2020.

“The vision of Howard Entertainment is to offer a one-of-a-kind experience for students interested in all aspects of entertainment, from project greenlighting, to PR and marketing, to entertainment law and finance,” HU President Wayne A. I. Frederick said in a statement. “Collaborating with Amazon Studios will enable us to marry academia and industry efforts to build a robust workforce of diverse entertainment industry leaders.”

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To qualify for Howard Entertainment, those interested must be current HU upperclassmen or graduate students and go through a competitive application and interview process. The university did not report how many students will be accepted into the inaugural class.

Amazon Studios employees will support HU faculty teaching the students for the program, who will also add some entrepreneurial lessons to the academic curriculum.

“This program is all about intentionality — being intentional about increasing and preparing the next generation of African American, Latinx and Native American storytellers, casts, crew, and executives working on these projects,” Gillespie said in a statement.

The university is holding a town hall tonight on campus for students interested in learning more about the program.

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