McDonald’s® USA Teams Up to Provide Real-World Learning Opportunities for Aspiring Marketing Professionals of Color


McDonald’s® USA has teamed up with the Marcus Graham Project (MGP), a 15-year-old nonprofit dedicated to diversifying the talent pipeline in the marketing and media industry, to host its summer 2022 iCR8™ Bootcamp. Beginning this month, MGP and McDonald’s will welcome 12 future marketers to work as an integrated team to impact real-life marketing campaigns for McDonald’s.

Participants will receive training, mentorship and coveted internship opportunities from two of McDonald’s marketing and PR agencies to help strengthen their pursuit of careers in the fields of marketing and media, including advertising, PR and social media, according to a press release.

According to the American Association of Advertising Agencies, Black professionals comprise just 5.8 percent of the total make-up of the marketing industry in the U.S. Comparatively, 8.68 percent of the industry identify as Hispanic, 10.7 percent as Asian American and 4.23 percent as other. Of the less than six percent who identify as Black (or African American), 68 percent are admin or entry-level and 43.5 percent are non-management professionals. This disparity underscores the need for more inclusivity and diverse talent across the marketing industry.

Hosted in Los Angeles, Calif. for the second time, the Bootcamp is designed to help accelerate opportunities for passionate emerging leaders of color to grow and learn no matter where they are at on their career journey, either as recent college graduates or as more experienced individuals who are looking to make a transition into the marketing and media industry.

“The longstanding drastic underrepresentation of Black professionals in the marketing industry underscores the importance of training programs like our iCR8™ Bootcamp,” said Lincoln Stephens, co-founder and chairman of the Marcus Graham Project.

As we celebrate our 15 year anniversary, we are crystal clear about how lives and career paths can drastically change when immersed in real-world learning. This is why we are honored to work with McDonald’s to provide Bootcamp participants with invaluable insider knowledge and experience they can use in careers in marketing and media.”

For the Marcus Graham Project, the McDonald’s partnership marks the first time the non-profit has worked with a quick-service restaurant organization. Throughout the 11-week iCR8™ Bootcamp immersive experience, participants will operate as a pop-up-agency delivering tangible marketing and communications outputs to McDonald’s. Bootcamp participants will also have direct access to McDonald’s senior executives and partner agency staff who will provide guidance and mentorship as they work through the process of developing a marketing campaign and bringing it to life. Along the way, participants will collaborate with various internal and external stakeholders to help inform each step of the creative process.

“What’s exciting about our collaboration with the Marcus Graham Project is that we’re giving these enthusiastic, future industry leaders tangible tools and resources from some of the best in the business, to enable a direct path to the marketing industry,” said Heather Woodard, director, Cultural and Community Communications at McDonald’s.

“We couldn’t be prouder to partner with MGP, knowing and valuing the importance of having Black and Brown talent in rooms and at tables where decisions are being made to ensure historically underrepresented groups are represented and celebrated authentically and respectfully.”

To close out the program, McDonald’s will host the participants at its corporate headquarters in Chicago, where the cohort will present their work to executives, tour MHQ and Hamburger University, enjoy menu items from the Global Restaurant and test kitchen and network with staff. Participants will also have the opportunity to interview for a select number of internships and entry-level roles with McDonald’s agency partners, The Golin Group, as well as Wieden + Kennedy, a long standing supporter of MGP, to provide them with access and opportunity for the next phase of their career journey.

The partnership with the Marcus Graham Project is just one of the ways McDonald’s is creating opportunities for advancement in diverse communities, underscoring the brand’s commitment to feeding and fostering the communities it serves — which also includes scholarships for HBCU Students, education and mental health resources for Asian American students and 30 plus years of scholarships for Hispanic students, among many other initiatives centered around educational opportunity and financial equity.

For more on McDonald’s support of diverse communities visit the global website or read more about the company’s Mutual Commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion (MCDEI) pledge.

For more about the Marcus Graham Project and the iCR8™ Bootcamp, visit marcusgrahamproject.org.



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