2021 Grants Challenge

Project Match: Shaping the Leaders of Los Angeles

College Match LA is committed to helping talented Angeleno students achieve the American Dream through a college education. For over 18 years, our students have enrolled and graduated from the nation’s top colleges. The COVID-19 pandemic disproportionately impacted low-income communities of color. In order to fulfill our commitment of a transformative college education we have committed to support our college scholars to find internships and gainful employment through our pilot program, Project Match.


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

Central LA

East LA

South LA

South Bay

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

Finding a job after graduation is difficult and overwhelming for any student. The young people we work with are bright, hard working and attend top colleges but they lack family resources, and extended networks to fully engage in meaningful career exploration. There are knowledge gaps based on career options, fields, how to create a professional resume, how to prepare for interviews and how to network. These knowledge gaps can limit our students’ opportunities for economic mobility and growth. Our students have received an excellent education but cannot share their experiences, perspective and ideas with employers. Los Angeles needs diverse talent to lead projects and initiatives that will improve our city and beyond. We need to prepare our future leaders who need extra support and resources to thrive.

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

The goal of Project Match is to support our students find internships and employment that are career oriented and allow for professional growth. The program is focused on three pillars: career exploration, connecting students with opportunities and career coaching. Career Exploration: Project Match will provide opportunities for career exploration through Career Thursdays. During these virtual panels, our career partners will join us to present and share internship opportunities, insight into booming new career fields, and professional insight around career exploration. Connections: First-generation students are far less likely to have well-connected friends, family members and business associates. By partnering with employer partners and professionals in diverse career fields, we will connect our students to networking opportunities that align with their goals and career endeavours. Students will gain mentors and connect with possible employers. Career Coaches: Our volunteer career coaches will be matched with our students to work on critical skill building that will prepare our students for this new economy. Our coaches will work with our students to build competitive resumes, LinkedIn profiles, elevator pitches and prepare them for interviews. Our coaches will get to know our students’ strengths, skills and goals and will be able to advocate for them to potential employers and connect our students to opportunities.

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

Applying a proven model or solution to a new issue or sector (e.g., using a job recruiting software or strategy to match clients to supportive housing sites, applying demonstrated strategies from advocating for college affordability to advocating for housing affordability and homelessness, etc.)

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

Direct Impact: 720

Indirect Impact: 1,500

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

The original goal of College Match is to change the lives of thousands of exceptional low-income young adults, their families and communities in Los Angeles. Our students come from communities with high poverty, little social mobility and limited access to professional networks which are additional barriers to finding gainful employment and internship opportunities. Project Match will help our students find employment that offers them career growth, fair pay and benefits. If we are successful in this endeavor, our students will have more financial security and secure generational upward mobility. Project Match will prepare the future leaders of Los Angeles and ensure that employers, companies and organizations have diverse talent that reflect the city of Los Angeles. When they become professionals in their fields, they will be role models for other low-income young people of color and uplift their communities

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

Project Match will measure success based on data gathered through a survey at the end of each cohort that will measure: Number of students who have found an internship or job Number of students who have secured jobs or prestigious fellowships upon graduation from their post- secondary education. The number of partner organizations that continue to hire our students and work with us. The number of partner organizations gained at the end of the year.

Which of the LEARN metrics will you impact?​

College graduates

College matriculation

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

LA is the best place to CREATE