Posted by Rhanatah Griffith, Account Manager, Paid Search The Performics Atlanta team joined hands with Google, the Marketing Team, and Dr. Karen King and Dr. Elaine Lin from The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication at The University of Georgia to pilot an AdWords Certification Program for 10 selected Graduate and Undergraduate Senior students. Our main program goals were to educate the students about Search Marketing through an intensive four-month training course, mentor the participants through the job hunting process and to ensure all the students passed the certification with flying colors! We definitely succeeded in all areas and could not be more proud of the group of students we mentored. The first month of the program started with our team frequently visiting different Advertising/PR and Journalism classes at the university to get students excited about applying. We had over 40 applications and with the help of Dr. King, narrowed down to 10 finalists. From there, we began the training by assigning each student to a mentor and as a group teaching in-depth Search 101, AdWords and Display presentations over a three-month period. Students were also provided with practice test questions and links for them to study on their own. Any questions the students had were answered via a list serve or direct contact from their mentor. In addition to the provided materials, we had the ability to open an actual AdWords account, utilizing The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication as our “client.” Through this opportunity, students were able to make bids, build keyword lists and ads, and use the AdWords interface in real-time. They were able to gain a greater level of comfort and knowledge of the system. We strived to have the learning process be as open and communicative as possible. This approach was the best way to teach the AdWords program, and we’re thrilled with our 100% Google Certification pass rate! Not only was this a great resume builder and learning experience for the students, but it also constructed an experienced Internship and AAM pool that we were able to choose from for our Summer 2013 positions. Additionally, it has given The Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication a chance to see how Search works in conjunction with the other Advertising mediums taught within their curriculum. We have had discussions about our team guest lecturing on Search Marketing in future media classes and are planning on continuing the UGA/Google AdWords Certification Program next fall. This initiative also gave many of our office members a chance to give back to our Alma Mater! We are using this experience to spread to our sister Performics offices and are excited to leverage ways to grow this wonderful initiative!