DreamWorks Animation has partnered with HBCU 20×20, the world’s largest network for HBCU and Black job seekers, on a new talent development program for current students and soon-to-be graduates looking to begin their professional career in animation.

The LAUNCH: HBCU Fellowship Program will select 15 individuals from historically Black colleges and universities to participate in a paid eight-week curriculum that includes various workshops and courses focused on topics like building one’s brand and achieving diversity on screen. The program, which will run through the spring, will feature a speaker series to help fellows become familiar with the various paths a career in animation can take.

“DreamWorks strives to introduce and carve a path for Black students, and we found the perfect partner to create a meaningful fellowship program with HBCU 20×20,” Rabia Abedin, DreamWorks Animation’s Manager of Early Career Programs & Diversity Outreach, said. “LAUNCH will continue DreamWorks ongoing commitment to eliminate barriers in animation for the Black community, and we believe that this program will create impactful opportunities for everyone involved.”

The fellowship will double as a networking opportunity, allowing participants to build their professional connections and relationships with industry veterans. At the end of the program, those selected will also have the opportunity to apply and interview for an open position at DreamWorks Animation or the company’s internship program.

As part of being a LAUNCH fellow, individuals will receive a stipend courtesy of the studio.

“This is a first of its kind partnership, and HBCU 20×20 is excited to embark on this journey with DreamWorks Animation,” Nicole Tinson, Founder and CEO of HBCU 20×20, said. “We’re looking forward to ensuring more people within the HBCU, and ultimately, the Black community, are prepared, ready and connected to career opportunities in animation. We’re grateful to everyone at DreamWorks who continues their ongoing commitment in diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Potential participants can submit their LAUNCH applications for the professional development program at hbcu20x20.org/dreamworks. The application period begins on Feb. 1, with the submission window closing on March 1.

This is the latest endeavor for HBCU 20×20, which partners with companies and organizations to help prepare and connect both Black college students and professionals for job and internship opportunities. The organization aims to increase economic and social mobility within the HBCU and Black community through its academic and career resources.

LAUNCH also marks yet another effort by DreamWorks Animation to expand professional development and career opportunities for underrepresented talent in animation. Among its growing suite of programs and initiatives was the 2021 launch of the Universal Animation Writers Program, which saw five scribes paid to develop their work over a year in collaboration with creative executives from DreamWorks Animation and Illumination.

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