2021 Grants Challenge

College to Career Launch Program

Through College to Career Launch, Heart of Los Angeles will advance economic mobility for young people of color by providing them with crucial resources including mentorship, career coaching and fellowship opportunities. Building on the remarkable success of HOLA’s college access work, College to Career Launch will provide a critical job attainment framework for our students to take on leadership in LA County’s workforce, helping shape the economic landscape as vibrant and inclusive of all Angelenos.


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

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

HOLA seeks to address educational and career inequity by providing access to those in our community with the least educational resources. Through this project, HOLA serves college-enrolled alumni who came through its rigorous after-school programs, beginning as early as 1st grade. More than 96% of HOLA’s families live below the poverty line (defined by free/reduced lunch), now reaching 100% due to COVID-19 and subsequent job loss; all are impacted by educational inequity. HOLA serves a majority Latino community in LA’s Rampart District with one of the lowest rates of educational attainment in the nation (48% holding a high school diploma, 14% a Bachelor's degree). The majority of HOLA’s youth are first-generation college students. HOLA has seen significant outcomes in its college access work, yet many graduates struggle to land career jobs or advance to leadership due to real barriers including lack of social capital, experiences of imposter syndrome and family financial hardship.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

HOLA is poised to grow our work to improve outcomes for college graduates in attaining career-aligned jobs, a boost needed now more than ever due to the impact of COVID-19 on the economic landscape for college graduates entering the workforce. Following Safer at Home protocols, HOLA’s comprehensive programming is delivered through digital platforms with plans for in-person opportunities as soon as it is safe to do so. HOLA’s College to Career Launch builds on our successful college access model and includes the following: Career Readiness Fellowship: 3-day intensive bootcamp providing an immediate professional opportunity for recent graduates to include a stipend, resume building, goal setting, job search strategies and one-on-one mentorship. Career Readiness Workshop Series: 3-part series for college-enrolled HOLA alumni to include professional speakers, career development and leadership workshops, networking and wellness services. Mentor Matching with Industry Professionals: HOLA will recruit established professionals from our vast network in a wide array of industries to provide field-specific guidance to recent HOLA graduates seeking entry level roles. HOLA will invest in the hiring of its first-ever Career Coach who will work one-on-one with HOLA students graduating from and post-graduate alumni to support their workforce journeys, with an emphasis on nurturing social capital and pathways aligned with professional interests and educational background.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Expand existing project, program, or initiative

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

Direct Impact: 177

Indirect Impact: 150,000

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

College to Career Launch will result in more college graduates finding in-roads to career-aligned jobs, bringing well-educated, yet under-represented, professionals into LA County’s workforce. Through this grant, HOLA will achieve: - 75% of college students will show increased understanding of career field options and steps to career attainment. - 100% of participants will develop a focused job search strategy. - 100% of recent college graduates seeking mentorship will be matched with a profession-aligned mentor. HOLA’s long term vision is to grow the scope and impact of College to Career Launch by creating a replicable model that can be implemented by HOLA’s vast college access network, including Southern California College Access Network, an alliance of 100+ organizations working together to support the college and career aspirations of 150,000 students in the region. Through this innovative intensive track, thousands of young people can access careers previously inaccessible.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

Founded in 1989, HOLA serves more than 2,100 youth each year through transformational programs (academics, music and youth orchestra, visual arts, athletics, leadership and STEAM, wellness services); 90% of HOLA's elementary school students perform at or above grade level and more than 95% of our high school seniors graduate and go on to college. All programs are completely free and offered to youth who wouldn't otherwise have access to quality after-school activities, college access programs and college scholarships. Since 2009, HOLA has seen 642 seniors complete its senior programming, 99% of whom graduated from high school and 98% matriculated to college. Through its formal Scholarship Program, HOLA has awarded more than $4.7 million to HOLA youth since 2009, helping to further eliminate barriers to their education. In recent years, HOLA has seen its 5- and 6-year bachelor completion rate steadily increase, this year reaching a record 87%.

Which of the LEARN metrics will you impact?​

College graduates

College matriculation

Community college completion

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

LA is the best place to CREATE