MIAD introduces management program for design graduates

Designship focused on leadership training

The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design is launching a new program aimed at helping design graduates grow into leadership positions with their companies.

The school describes its Designship program as a first-of-its-kind apprenticeship program that seeks to fill a void in management training for designers. The idea is that students may complete their undergraduate degree with strong design skills but not have the training to take on management or leadership positions as their careers grow.

“At Microsoft, like any other company, we are always looking for the best talent, beyond finding good skilled employees, you want talent who can also lead projects,” said David Nelson, senior director of design, principal at Microsoft and a MIAD graduate. “Designers are not often trained to be leaders. This is a good jump start for designers and fills a significant gap in our industry. A program like Designship could be a significant contributor to growing the impact design has in evolving businesses.”

Designship is a one-year, competency-based management training program that includes 2,000 hours of structured, on-the-job training and 160 hours of online instruction. There are six required courses on topics like business management, leadership, project management and mentoring. The courses are modularized, allowing participants to move at their own pace.

The costs for training and coursework for the first 300 apprentices are covered by a $3 million American Apprenticeship Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Participants can be focused on graphic, interactive, industrial and interior design.

“We are currently seeking companies to partner with for the Designship program who are looking to fast-track design professionals and ensure their creative talent will be able to help grow and lead within their organization’s culture,” said Sharon Crowe, Designship executive director.

Participating companies will provide a mentor for the design apprentice to oversee the on-the-job portion of the training. The mentor will sign off on the apprentice’s competencies as he or she works through the course and work activities.

Those who complete the apprenticeship will receive a nationally recognized certificate. The program’s coursework is valued at $25,000. Once the initial 300 apprentices have been selected, companies will be responsible for the costs of coursework and training.

The Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design is launching a new program aimed at helping design graduates grow into leadership positions with their companies.

The school describes its Designship program as a first-of-its-kind apprenticeship program that seeks to fill a void in management training for designers. The idea is that students may complete their undergraduate degree with strong design skills but not have the training to take on management or leadership positions as their careers grow.

“At Microsoft, like any other company, we are always looking for the best talent, beyond finding good skilled employees, you want talent who can also lead projects,” said David Nelson, senior director of design, principal at Microsoft and a MIAD graduate. “Designers are not often trained to be leaders. This is a good jump start for designers and fills a significant gap in our industry. A program like Designship could be a significant contributor to growing the impact design has in evolving businesses.”

Designship is a one-year, competency-based management training program that includes 2,000 hours of structured, on-the-job training and 160 hours of online instruction. There are six required courses on topics like business management, leadership, project management and mentoring. The courses are modularized, allowing participants to move at their own pace.

The costs for training and coursework for the first 300 apprentices are covered by a $3 million American Apprenticeship Initiative grant from the U.S. Department of Labor. Participants can be focused on graphic, interactive, industrial and interior design.

“We are currently seeking companies to partner with for the Designship program who are looking to fast-track design professionals and ensure their creative talent will be able to help grow and lead within their organization’s culture,” said Sharon Crowe, Designship executive director.

Participating companies will provide a mentor for the design apprentice to oversee the on-the-job portion of the training. The mentor will sign off on the apprentice’s competencies as he or she works through the course and work activities.

Those who complete the apprenticeship will receive a nationally recognized certificate. The program’s coursework is valued at $25,000. Once the initial 300 apprentices have been selected, companies will be responsible for the costs of coursework and training.

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