Toy Foundation & Industry Leaders Explore Toy-Focused Degree Program at University of Maryland

university of maryland deiFebruary 27, 2024 | To better serve the toy industry and college and university students eager to start their careers, The Toy Foundation™ (TTF) is looking to expand its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (DEI) Pipeline Program by exploring the development of a degree program at the University of Maryland Robert H. Smith School of Business. On March 11, TTF and a select group of industry principals will meet with the university’s leadership to discuss the program’s design, desired outcomes, and implementation.

The DEI Pipeline Program is focused on building awareness around careers in the industry among talented, diverse college and university students, and engaging toy companies of all sizes to place these students into internship and first-hire roles. Since the program’s launch, it has engaged 150 students through semester-long case study competitions and in-person events that resulted in seven internship and job offers.

University of Maryland has been an integral partner of TTF’s DEI Pipeline Program for which students participate as an extracurricular activity. As an internationally recognized, top-ranked business school, the creation of an industry-validated degree curriculum that incorporates activities from the current program will help reach a wider breadth of students and better prepare them for success upon entering the toy industry. The initial program would be a two-year undergraduate curriculum open to the entire student body in an effort to involve several academic disciplines.

Industry leaders from Crazy Aaron’s, Hasbro, InKidz, Jazwares, LEGO Systems, Mattel, Spin Master, Target, The Dr. Lisa Company, and The Walt Disney Company, along with The Toy Association™, will join the March meeting to discuss course topics that would provide in-depth knowledge and skills needed to secure employment within the toy industry; involvement of faculty and opportunities for industry experts; what success looks like; and more.

To get involved, there are immediate opportunities to mentor students participating in the spring semester case study competition. Every Tuesday at 6 p.m. Eastern through April 23 (except March 24), industry professionals can join the class meetings and offer their expertise to help students refine their case study solutions. All are welcome to join one or multiple classes. No preparation is needed. For more information and to receive the Zoom invite(s), contact TTF staff.