Digital Dream Pathways
We empower youth (ages 8 to 24) through professional training in Music, Film, Digital Media, Creative Arts, Technology and more. The Digital Dream Pathways gives marginalized youth and young artists a real opportunity to develop their creativity and compete in the 21st Century global economy through one-of-a-kind apprenticeship training at Silicon Beach companies and local businesses. Our goal is to be the home of the Next Big Thing, and help our students develop the next Snapchat or TikTok.
What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?
Access to Creative Industry Employment (sponsored by Snap Foundation)
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
San Gabriel Valley
San Fernando Valley
County of Los Angeles
City of Los Angeles
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?
Expand existing project, program, or initiative
What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?
The tech industry overall has a major issue, lack of diversity and inclusion. According to Business Insider, the percentage of Black and Brown employees at major tech companies is very low at one to three percent of the tech workforce. 83% of all tech execs are white. Women are also underrepresented, underpaid, and often discriminated against in the tech industry. According to the National Center for Women & Information Technology, of the 25% of women working in tech, Asian women make up just 5% of that number, while Black and Brown women accounted for 3% and 1%, respectively. Tech companies need to keep investing in people of color hiring programs such as ours, build better retention initiatives, and get everyone, at every level of the company, to value and prioritize diverse and inclusive workforces.
Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.
The Digital Dream Pathways gives marginalized youth of color and young artists a real opportunity to develop their creativity and compete in the 21st Century global economy through one-of-a-kind apprenticeship training at Silicon Beach tech companies and local businesses. Our goal is to be the home of the Next Big Idea, and help our students develop the next Snapchat or TikTok Our team of experts help students learn the technologies, processes and approaches used on the job to build new products. Through weekly training youth will expand their knowledge of technology and how to apply it. Training and project-based learning will be two of the key components of this program. Participants experience real-life roles and functions within the tech industry. Youth learn to apply critical thinking skills, collaborate, and accept leadership roles within their projects. Our film program will work closely with our music and technology students to create music videos, podcasts, short-form content, websites, coding apps and technologies. Our program is completely free and 89% of our registered youth identify as low-income. Although we are open to all, many of our youth come from single parent families and the majority of our registered youth are Black and Latino Additionally, we will build a Mobile Tech Lab to take our program on the road to help the most vulnerable communities have access to quality tech training. We will hire our certified tech students to help lead this program.
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
Every marginalized community needs self-determination, culturally-engaging programs and services. PYFC, through its dual approach of direct services and advocacy, embodies the power of community-based action to create social change. Our vision is to create a career pathway for all underrepresented youth of color in Los Angeles County into the tech industry. Our goal is to be the home of the Next Big Idea, and help our students develop the next Snapchat or TikTok. At our multi-service youth center, we are building this Digital Dream Career Pathway through tech training, academic support, counseling, mentorship, recruitment, retention, and advocacy. We look forward to partnering with LA2050 to give youth access to their Digital Dream through our training and Creative Industry Employment. By enacting this visionary new program, we are creating a more just and equitable community at large in support of underserved youth of color in Los Angeles County.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
Since 2002, PYFCʼs culturally-relevant youth programming is credited with reducing youth violence and increasing college graduation rates in the communities of Santa Monica, Venice, Culver City and West Los Angeles. The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) is partnering with PYFC to develop a new project-based learning model for students who are struggling academically or not being well-served by the traditional curriculum. Our students have produced six full-length compilation albums and more than 500 original songs. The albums give youth a platform to tackle social issues, current events, and personal strife. Through our commitment to Peace, Unity & Social Justice, we are shaping the future leaders and musicians of tomorrow, delivering songs that educate, uplift and inspire. One former gang member describes this process succinctly, "I used to get respect in the streets for beating people up, now I get respect for my beats."
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
Direct Impact: 100
Indirect Impact: 2,000