Press Releases

Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, CUNY & Reel Works Collaborate with Local Employers to Launch MediaMKRS

The MediaMKRS Advisory Council of 23 industry leaders is the first in the nation to advise from the outset, so that the credentialing system is fully integrated into recruiting efforts

New program offers digital credentials to prepare young New Yorkers for careers in film and television

Students at 20 CUNY schools and 15 Reel Works programs throughout the City will be trained and earn innovative digital badges they can offer as credentials to future employers


NEW YORK, NY The Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), The City University of New York (CUNY) and Reel Works, a youth media program, announce the launch of MediaMKRS, a collaboration between educators, employers, unions and MOME to train, credential and prepare young New Yorkers for technical careers in the City's thriving television and film production industries. This 3-year pilot workforce program has been designed to provide more equitable access to opportunity and build a talent pipeline that reflects the diversity of New York City.


Students taking film and television production courses through Reel Works public high school programs and at CUNY campuses will have the opportunity to earn digital badges online – shareable credentials in film production, post production, sound mixing, critical thinking, communication and more. Students may earn multiple badges in the program and will have access to entry-level work opportunities in television and film production to learn additional technical and professional skills.

New York is the first city in the nation to include employers and union leaders in setting the standards of curriculum in coordination with educators for a digital badging system in the creative industries. This groundbreaking initiative is supported by the MediaMKRS Advisory Council, which is made up of industry leaders who can help connect students to real jobs at New York-based media and entertainment companies. The Advisory Council's members will set work readiness standards, review the digital badging and encourage managers to consider MediaMKRS badges when hiring interns and entry-level positions at their companies.

The MediaMKRS Advisory Council includes:

  • Terra Bliss, Vice President & General Manager, Panavision New York
  • Berénicé Brino, Production Office & Intern Coordinator, Jax Media
  • Kavell Brown, Corporate Social Responsibility & Community Investment, Viacom
  • Michelle Byrd, Managing Director, Producers Guild of America East
  • Mala Chapple, Senior Vice President Content Strategy, Operations & Media Partnerships, MTV
  • Colleen Ferrary, Human Resources, FilmNation Entertainment
  • Madhu Goel Southworth, Senior Vice President, Business & Legal Affairs, AMC Networks
  • Pam Hacker, Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, HBO
  • Jennifer Halpern, Education Outreach, IATSE International
  • Mike Jackman, Co-Chairman, Board of Directors, New York Production Alliance and Executive Vice President Post Production and Worldwide Delivery, FilmNation Entertainment
  • Jon Kamen, Chairman & CEO, RadicalMedia
  • Barbara Matos, Vice President, Diversity, CBS
  • Laura Michalchyshyn, President and Co-Founder, Sundance Productions
  • Asad Muhammad, Vice President of Impact and Engagement Strategy, POV | American Documentary
  • Paul Nicholson, Senior Vice President, Production & Technology, Showtime
  • Richard Perello, Chief Operating Officer and Executive Vice President, Production, Jigsaw Productions
  • Adam Robinson, Senior Director, Corporate Social Responsibility, Viacom
  • Sheereen Russell, National Group Vice President, Advertising Sales Partner Solutions for Inclusion Audiences, OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network
  • Erin Scolaro, Senior Director, Social Impact Strategy at Comedy Central, Paramount Network, and TV Land, Viacom
  • Erika SotLamb, Vice President, Social Impact Strategy at Comedy Central, Paramount Network, and TV Land, Viacom
  • Lorna Thomas, Senior Executive Producer, Investigation Discovery, Discovery, Inc.
  • Zak Tucker, Co-Founder & President, Harbor Picture Company
  • Patricia White, Director, Education & Training, IATSE International

"MediaMKRS is a first of its kind public private partnership that engages employers and unions from the start to create a credentialing system for media skills that translates into real jobs," said the Commissioner of the NYC Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, Anne del Castillo. "MediaMKRS will give more talented, young New Yorkers the opportunities and training they need to thrive in New York's growing media and entertainment industry."

"After nearly twenty years of mentoring young filmmakers at Reel Works, we have learned that there is no shortage of talent in NYC," said John C. Williams, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Reel Works. "But there are shortages of opportunities especially for under-represented young people to gain footholds into careers in media and entertainment. We need to build pathways from classrooms to careers. And to do that we need educators, employers, labor and government to work together to build a media workforce that reflects the diversity of our city. That's what MediaMKRS does."

"CUNY measure students 'success not just by graduation rates, but by our ability to ensure that our students will enter family-sustaining careers," said Executive Vice Chancellor Jose Luis Cruz. "With that in mind, we are proud MediaMKRS will allow our students to make inroads into an especially vibrant and ever-changing field."

"New York City is known around the globe as an epicenter of television and film production and I am thrilled that our CUNY students finally have a clear avenue of opportunity into those industries," said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. "CUNY students receive a top-notch education and they will thrive with the support of the world-class media and entertainment companies participating in this program. As a CUNY graduate myself, I know how important it is to offer innovative coursework in our public institutions of higher education. Thank you to the Office of Media and Entertainment, CUNY and Reel Works for creating such an incredible resource for the next generation of our workforce."

"Our partnership with MediaMKRS reflects Viacom's longstanding commitment to empowering young people and elevating underrepresented voices in front and behind the camera," said Crystal Barnes, Head of Corporate Social Responsibility and Culture at Viacom. "We're proud to take part in this important initiative to nurture the next generation of talented creators and storytellers, and help bring their unique voices to film and television."

MediaMKRS is the latest in a series of NYC workforce initiatives to increase access to careers in the media and entertainment fields. These include the Made in NY Talks, a series of free career panels featuring industry leaders in conversation about their careers in NYC creative industries; the Made in NY Animation Project, which offers young people the opportunity to gain technical skills in 3D computer animation, and qualify for paid internships in the field; Made in NY Writers Room, a fellowship program for TV writers from diverse backgrounds in partnership with the NYC Department of Small Business Services; the Theatrical Workforce Development Program, a three-year initiative to educate and train young adults in technical theater positions, presented in partnership with Roundabout Theatre Company and the NYC Department of Small Business Services; the Made in NY Post Production Training Program, training New Yorkers for entry-level positions in editing, graphic design, motion graphics, and visual effects in partnership with the NYC Department of Small Business Services; and, the Made in NY PA Training Program, which for more than ten years has trained and prepared underemployed New Yorkers for entry-level positions on television and film sets, presented in partnership with Brooklyn Workforce Innovations.

For more information on digital badging, please visit