NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Reebok, in partnership with online education platform Yellowbrick, national education and workforce nonprofit JFF, and sneaker and fashion retailer APB, today announced the launch of an online education and mentorship program aimed at helping young people from ages 17-20 develop industry-relevant knowledge, skills, and experience. The program represents the four organizations’ shared commitment to providing access to education and career-navigation opportunities in the sneaker industry.
Based on a successful pilot in 2020 that served 15 learners from non-traditional backgrounds, this extension program will scale to 50 candidates in Tallahassee, Charleston, and select cities. The online program materials will be based on the content of Yellowbrick’s popular Sneaker Essentials course, which was created with FIT & Complex. To this core curriculum, Reebok will add proprietary content and make company executives available for live mentorship sessions and portfolio reviews. Contributions to the curriculum will also be made through APBYOU, APB’s community and education platform.
The Sneaker Essentials Course culminates with a capstone project in which students will create their own shoe designs. Three learners will be selected to gain valuable industry experience by refining, producing, and marketing their own sneaker. The course provides an opportunity for students to develop skills and explore the career landscape in a model that’s aligned to key industries. The final sneaker design will be made available at APB, the program’s exclusive retail partner. Net proceeds will go toward funding additional cohorts of the program, which the partners hope to expand into additional cities in 2022.
This partnership comes at a time when the creative economy faces significant volatility from the COVID-19 crisis and potential post-pandemic; particularly in underserved communities. In the United States, an estimated 2.7 million people lost their jobs in the cultural and creative industries between April and July 2020. While creative economy recovery programs have focused on supporting workers and institutions directly, in the void of a sustained national creative economy strategy, public-private partnerships that support learners in exploring and engaging with opportunities in the creative sector show great potential for impact. According to the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the creative economy is one of the fastest-growing sectors in the world. This partnership and the Sneaker Essentials Course serve as a response to this trajectory and moment of economical and cultural recovery with an innovative model - one that engages learners in industry-aligned pathways as we rebound and rebuild following this time of crisis. The program aims to create opportunities and access to knowledge and resources that too often aren’t made available to young men and women in this program’s key cities.
“At JFF, we identify new and effective models that support economic advancement opportunities for all,” said Stephen Yadzinski, Senior Innovation Officer, JFF. “We’ve found that the most impactful programs offer measurable access to education and industry-focused mentorship. The Yellowbrick program in partnership with Reebok and APB creates a unique and engaging opportunity for students to explore occupations in industries and with brands they care about, gaining valuable skills along the way.”
“Less than a year ago, Reebok committed to building programs that will nurture young talent and drive more diversity into the industry. This program with Yellowbrick and JFF, and APB is a great example of the work we’re doing,” explained Sean Finucane, Vice President, Wholesale at Reebok. “By educating and developing talented young people and by connecting them directly with established designers and executives from our team, we’re able to expose them to the multiple career paths that exist within our incredible industry.”
“Our Sneaker Essentials course has been a staple of Yellowbrick’s industry-specific offerings for years, but now, working with Reebok, APB, and JFF, we’re able to take it up a level,” said Dion Walcott, VP, Brand Partnerships for Yellowbrick. “Our partners are committed to making this a life-changing experience for learners entering the program, and we’re excited to unlock as many doors as we can into the exciting sneaker industry.”
To learn more about the program, visit https://www.yellowbrick.co/reebok
Reebok International Ltd., headquartered in Boston, MA, USA, is a leading worldwide designer, marketer and distributor of fitness and lifestyle footwear, apparel and equipment. An American-inspired global brand, Reebok is a pioneer in the sporting goods industry with a rich and storied fitness heritage. Reebok develops products, technologies and programming which enable movement and is committed to accompanying people on their journey to fulfill their potential. Reebok connects with the fitness consumer wherever they are and however they choose to stay fit – whether it's functional training, running, walking, dance, yoga or aerobics. Reebok Classics leverages the brand's fitness heritage and represents the roots of the brand in the sports lifestyle market. For more information, visit Reebok at www.reebok.com, or, for the latest news at http://news.reebok.com/
JFF is a national nonprofit that drives transformation in the American workforce and education systems. For more than 35 years, JFF has led the way in designing innovative and scalable solutions that create access to economic advancement for all. Join us as we build a future that works. www.jff.org
Yellowbrick is a global leader in online education and career exploration for the Arts, Media, Entertainment, and Sports industries. The company develops exciting, accessible online programs in collaboration with top brands and influencers in media and culture and with world-renowned universities. Their mission is to help a new generation of talent discover, pursue, and advance career paths that are aligned with the things they love. Find out more at www.yellowbrick.co.
All Points Bulletin (APB) is one of the banners of The Whitaker Group, the award-winning retail group owned by fashion entrepreneur James Whitner, recipient of the 2020 Retailer Of The Year award by Footwear News. With locations in Tallahassee, Charleston, Columbia, Greenville and Jacksonville, APB offers an experience and brand assortment for the evolving young consumer, connecting sneaker and apparel brands to youth culture.