Patrice Williams founded the Minorities in Broadcasting Training Program in 1993 in response to her struggles to gain employment in the broadcasting industry as a news reporter. Instead of giving up or complaining, she did something about it. Minorities in Broadcasting Training was funded solely from her personal savings, and she continues to work for the organization without a salary in order to keep her dream alive.
The program provides training opportunities to minority college graduates in TV/radio news reporting and news management. Her job entails extensive fundraising that sometimes takes years to secure a single donation. She has used her networking skills to gain support from Sam Donaldson, Jane Pauley, Tom Brokaw, Dan Rather, Montel Williams and other news reporting personalities. Some of them lend financial report, while others endorse the program. In addition to this, she nurtures and signs up TV/radio stations to take in her trainees, extensively screens the potential trainees, and runs the one-person office on a daily basis. One of the trainees recently appeared on the Oprah Winfrey show.
Williams plans and implements and annual fundraising benefit that is necessary to keep the program alive. She also maintains a Web site and bi-weekly e-mail newsletter. Finally, she is responsible for all the publicity concerning the program as well as the fundraising. Although she sometimes struggles to meet basic, monthly expenses, she has never succumbed to the stress. She refuses to throw in the towel, and appears to care more about others than herself at times because of the lack of sleep and all the work she takes on the keep the program running. Her greatest joy is to see one of her trainees succeed and call to thank her for believing in them and giving them a chance.
William’s desire is to see many more minorities in broadcasting. She was offered positions in the newsroom, but not the positions she knew she was qualified for. Her goal is to make a difference, and she will help those who want to help themselves. Patrice Williams was selected as one of Turning Point Magazine’s 1997 Living History Makers, and she was recognized by STAR 98.7 radio station as a Woman of the Year.
The Minorites in Broadcasting Training Program has created training positions at TV and radio stations all across the country. Currently more than 20 stations are training sites, while more than 100 stations have agreed to give permanent employment consideration to graduated trainees. Participating stations pay trainees a small stipend, and working in the new environment gives candidates the valuable hands-on experience that can be added to their resumes to open doors. Screened trainees work as a Television or Radio News Reporter Trainee, or as a News Management/Producer Trainee.
Patrice Williams is proud to see many young men and women who have left the program go on to pursue their careers and only hopes they continue to mentor others so they too can have the chance Minorities in Broadcasting Training Program gave them.