Fox News today celebrated graduates of the ninth Ailes Apprentice Program in Studio J at its New York headquarters today.
Founded by Fox News chairman and CEO Roger Ailes in 2003, the exclusive diversity education program provides mentoring from network officials and external patrons with an eye toward affording the students with an opportunity to move into a full-time job at the news service, following a one-year apprenticeship.
The apprenticeship initiative is a forerunner to the Ailes Junior Reporter Program that cultivates candidates and gives them the necessary skills to make a career in broadcast journalism.
The 90-minute ceremony on Nov. 14, emceed by Fox News anchor Bill Hemmer, featured a welcome from Ailes. “Our program is unique in that if you get through the year of mentoring and hard work, you’re guaranteed a job,” he said, during his opening remarks.
Keynote addresses came courtesy of FNC correspondent Kelly Wright and former Virginia Governor L. Douglas Wilder.
FNC meteorologist Maria Molina and advertising pioneer Roy Eaton also made speeches, while golfing legend Chi Chi Rodriguez sent a video tribute.
All of the Ailes Apprentices also took their turn at the podium: Sarah Kader, now a new media web producer for Fox News Insider; Joanna Preston, a production assistant on Fox Business Network’s Varney & Co.; Terrell Brown, a production assistant on the media desk; and Stephen Hernandez, an ENG field technician.
The four graduates were accompanied by their internal mentors: vice president of social media Jason Ehrich (Kader); senior producer Justin Mannato (Preston); media desk manager Dean Chryssovergis (Brown); and vice president of technical and facilities operations Billy Toth (Hernandez).
The event also honored Devante Bignall and Christopher Mancero for their work last summer as HS Rising Apprentices, as part of Fox News’s partnership with Eagle Academy for Young Men in The Bronx.
Fox News also awarded $10,000 scholarships to Hofstra’s Sidney Amber Madden and St. Augustine’s Naomi Afari under its College Rising Apprentice program.
Under the Ailes Apprentice Program, a select group of minority students is chosen annually to be mentored by key Fox News executives, as well as such notable external patrons as U.S. Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao, Rev. Jacques De Graff, political commentator Jehmu Greene and former New York City Mayor David Dinkins.
The program enables the graduates to move into a full-time position at the organization upon the conclusion of their apprenticeships. Some like 2011 graduate Bryan Llenas, who serves as a reporter for Fox News Channel and Fox News Latino, have secured on-air talent roles.
The program encompasses private lunches with Ailes, as well as monthly meetings with a dedicated mentor to discuss performance and career goals. Job shadowing and networking events, as well as sitting in on development meetings with Fox News and Fox Business officials and on-air personnel, expose participants to various parts of the company, and prepare them for their final projects in which they go in front of the camera or write a news story.
Online seminars with program patrons and top industry pros forge connections and expose the apprentices to different aspects of the media, political and business worlds.
They are also gain lifetime membership into the Ailes Apprentice Program, with access to the program’s exclusive website, providing featured content and networking opportunities to apprentices past and present.
And as was the case on Nov. 14, the apprentices are saluted during the graduation program and are presented with a bonus and commemorative gift.