UCLA, Howard University Partner on Internship Program to Foster Diversity in Hollywood

Kamala Harris lent crucial support to getting program off the ground

Kamala Harris Democratic candidate for US

Increased focus on college students may be one way to pave a more diverse future in Hollywood.

A new program from the UCLA Anderson School for Management’s Summer Institute at the Center for MEMES (Media, Entertainment & Sports) in partnership with Howard University gives students the opportunity to learn the ropes of the entertainment industry through paid internships. The program enables students to gain firsthand experience in film and television production via a hands-on six-week course centered around the entertainment industry.

After it became clear that the cost of the classes, along with  the high cost of living in Los Angeles, made it hard for students of color to take advantage of the opportunities, the program expanded their initiatives to Howard in hopes of casting a wider net. In addition to offering financial support for select Howard students to take part in summer courses, the Center will work to find internships for students while they’re in Los Angeles.

As part of the program, Lionsgate has already employed three interns across their motion picture, production, worldwide TV/digital distribution and talent acquisition teams. One intern is already hired for an entry-level position at the company post-graduation.

Jay Tucker, Executive Director at the Center for MEMES at UCLA told Deadline that Sen. Kamala Harris played a part in getting the program going. “She was one of the catalysts to help raise awareness around this opportunity,” Tucker said. “It really helped to get the ball rolling.”

Along with adding more studios and production companies to its internship slate, the Center also hopes to bring more HBCUs (historically black colleges and universities) and women’s colleges on board to continue their diversity efforts.