2020 Grants Challenge

Career & Entrepreneurship Education for Youth

The Youth Business Alliance is innovating how high school students prepare for college and their careers by providing a comprehensive curriculum addressing soft skills, career development, personal finance and entrepreneurship coupled with weekly guest presentations from industry professionals and hands-on field trips to corporate offices. YBA is seeking support to expand our program offerings digitally, so students can engage in self-paced learning and engage with our content and community in a flexible manner.


In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

County of Los Angeles

In what stage of innovation is this project?

Expand existing program

If you are submitting a collaborative proposal, please describe the specific role of partner organizations in the project.

YBA will develop entrepreneurship programming to benefit students enrolled at YBA partner schools: LA Unified School District, Alliance for College Ready Schools, Green Dot Schools and community organizations. For programming offered during the school year, YBA staff on-board and train teachers in the YBA curriculum and program elements. Teachers receive on-going YBA staff support with scheduling weekly guest speakers and a field trip each semester. Local banks support the YBA program by offering guest speakers, field trips and funding to support the program. In addition, YBA has a network of 1,500 guest speakers who serves as volunteers in each of YBA's classrooms, bringing the learning to life.

YBA will partner with a program site for summer 2020 if in-person programming is possible.

What is the need you’re responding to?

There is an opportunity gap for low-income students of color to receive a high quality education that allows them to pursue a path to high-wage, high-demand careers. YBA narrows the opportunity gap by bringing industry into the classroom and offering relevant hands on curriculum and experiences that build a bridge for students to 21st century careers.

Recognizing that a high school student with entrepreneurial knowledge and problem-solving frameworks will be more attractive to any employer, we were motivated to extend the YBA program to provide a deep dive on entrepreneurship during a summer intensive program for YBA students that will form the foundation of a program available to hundreds of students during the school year as well. In response to the gap in self-paced career education learning tools for youth revealed by the COVID-19 school closures, digital program design and delivery will be prioritized for this project.

Why is this project important to the work of your organization?​

YBA is committed to promoting career readiness for youth in low-income communities. Under normal circumstances, YBA reaches students in their high school classrooms, in partnership with their teacher. To promote year-round learning and develop new tools to reach students, we wish to develop an entrepreneurship program component that will reach students beyond their school walls. YBA's leadership team is composed of experts in the fields of education, entrepreneurship, innovation and positive youth development. YBA is in the midst of adapting program content to digital platforms to support our teachers and students during the pandemic school closures. Support for an entrepreneurship program component that can be delivered beyond the traditional school year will be a valuable opportunity to reach many more youth with information necessary for success in evolving environments.

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this proposal?​

Direct Impact: 600

Indirect Impact: 1,000

Please describe the broader impact of your proposal.

Free programs such as the one we are proposing are not widely available, especially for students in low-income communities. To promote even greater inclusivity and remove barriers to enrollment, YBA will offer the summer program at no cost. All students will receive meals, transportation stipends, an internship stipend, a laptop that they can keep and an opportunity to compete for a pool of seed capital. For our low-income families who rely on their teens to earn an income during summer break, we are providing a viable alternative that allows their students to continue learning, growing and building their career ready skills while receiving a stipend.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.

YBA youth who participate in the entrepreneurship program will gain confidence in exploring career options with high growth potential. Entrepreneurial knowledge and approaches prepare all young people to become analytical and adaptive problem-solvers for the emerging and evolving nature of 21st century careers. By participating in an immersive program, YBA youth will have a unique opportunity to learn these skills and practice them in an innovative setting. Real-world mentorship as well as team-based activities will be integrated. Young people who have a relationship with one or more trusted adults outside of their families have a stronger safety net and support system to navigate life decisions. YBA youth will gain this with our staff and volunteers through our intentional team-building and relationship-building approaches.

Through the program’s activities, students will learn from a variety of professionals each day, having the opportunity to ask questions, share their own thoughts, and comfortably interact with adults and professionals through these repeated opportunities. This will prepare them for networking opportunities and professional relationship building that is important to career success.

As students work on their business concepts and prepare a business plan, they will gain the tools needed for assessing opportunities, understanding the costs necessary to produce their product or service, and practicing financial analysis and planning. These skills have application for careers across many industries, and support the personal finance and budgeting skills students gain through YBA’s core curriculum. They will also create a PowerPoint and oral presentation for their pitch competition, improving their public speaking skills and creating a professional document to reflect their analysis.

YBA’s curriculum expands students’ career options, prepares them for professional environments, instills healthy financial habits and sparks the entrepreneurial mindset. A successful project will demonstrate measurable gains in these areas for youth participants.

Which of the CREATE metrics will your submission impact?​

Jobs per capita

Minority- and women-owned businesses

Access to banks and financial institutions

College matriculation

Are there any other LA2050 goal categories that your proposal will impact?​

LA is the best place to LEARN

Which of LA2050’s resources will be of the most value to you?​

Access to the LA2050 community

Communications support

Strategy assistance and implementation