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ESPN NEXT: Catalyst for Career Acceleration

UPDATE: Applications for ESPN NEXT's Summer 2024 cohort for future PAs and CAs have closed; please keep an eye out on DisneyCareers website for future roles

EDITOR’S NOTE: UPDATE: Applications for ESPN NEXT’s Summer 2024 cohort for future PAs and CAs have closed; please keep an eye out on DisneyCareers website for future roles. In the video above, SportsCenter anchor and host Gary Striewski and fellow anchor Randy Scott welcome quality storytellers to apply to be part of ESPN NEXT’s 2024 Summer Cohort.

Fueling a culture of growth and professional development, the ESPN NEXT program underwent a dynamic relaunch in September 2023, ushering in a wave of opportunities for early-career professionals.

Production Assistants and Content Associates can now leverage their versatile skill sets not only in linear programming but also across social and digital platforms.

This expansion of roles is accompanied by the inauguration of the NEXT Accelerator, an internal initiative designed to fast-track the career trajectories of Content Associates. This annual program, initiated through a competitive internal application and interview process, offers a suite of developmental opportunities, including personalized career coaching, reverse mentorship, stretch projects, individualized assignment planning, and the chance to present innovative ideas to senior leaders.

Commenting on the transformation, ESPN Vice President of NEXT & Social Production, Celia Bouza, shared her thoughts on the evolution.

“Recognizing and retaining high performers is key to accelerating career growth, and the NEXT Accelerator allows us to focus precisely on that,” Bouza remarked.

The program’s modernized format, which phased out traditional pod structures and rotations, provides more frequent promotion opportunities and an evaluation system every six months, aligning with the ever-changing industry trends.

“With the changing media landscape, we had to evolve. In relaunching the program, we’re creating a multi-platform storytelling hub,” Bouza explained.

The inaugural NEXT Accelerator class met with career coaches, reverse mentees, and senior leaders at the Accelerator opening reception in February. (Melissa Rawlins/ESPN Images)

The program’s relaunch reflects a strategic response to the evolving media industry, establishing itself as a desirable home for multi-platform storytellers looking to start their careers.

As ESPN NEXT continues to be at the forefront of industry innovation, these changes underscore its commitment to cultivating a diverse talent pool of high-performing individuals who are adept in traditional roles and agile across the latest digital and social platforms.

This bold initiative aligns with ESPN’s broader commitment to staying ahead of the curve and nurturing the next generation of media professionals while also building a robust pipeline of diverse talent for ESPN and the greater Walt Disney Company.

Interested in applying to join NEXT? The program is hiring, you can apply here!

Gary Striewski, Kelly Manzo and Jon McLeod produced the video

To view as a PDF, click here

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