At a time of high unemployment for recent college grads, nine soon-to-graduate students have hit the career-opportunity jackpot at Fox.

Fox Networks Group is launching a six-month apprentice program dubbed Opportunity Fox in June that will immerse them in the operations of Fox’s broadcast and cable networks. Each of the nine participants will be assigned to work side by side with a division head, and each will also have another exec mentor to lean on. After three months, the apprentices will be eligible to move into open positions at the company.

Opportunity Fox has been spearheaded by Ruth Anne Herman, senior veep of human resources for Fox Networks Group. She was looking for a way to enhance the group’s process of recruiting entry-level employees. With the backing of Fox Networks Group prexy David Haslingden, she developed an extensive screening process to help glean the best and brightest. For the first year, the outreach was limited to four California schools: UCLA, USC, Stanford and UC Berkeley.

The application process included a series of creative challenges designed to gauge aspects of the applicants’ personality that aren’t reflected in grade point averages and resumes. One of those tasks involved conjuring five unusual ways to use a brick; among the memorable responses was the guy who outfitted a brick in a bikini and photographed it on the cover of “Clayboy” magazine, Herman said.

Once they’ve settled in to their posts, the apprentices are tasked with brainstorming an original project to work on, starting with a pitch to their exec mentors.

“We see this as a way to bring new thinking and new ideas into the company,” Herman said.

The nine inaugural apprentices are: Colin Davis and Samantha Rivkin (UCLA); Mitchell Golden, Krishen Kotecha, Corey Lebowitz, Joseph Snell and Jialin Wang (USC); Savannah Greene and Julie Na (Stanford).

Herman’s goal is to expand Opportunity Fox to a wider range of schools next year.