2022 Grants Challenge

Our Greatest Asset - Our Community

To create a trade (blue-collar) workforce development program that helps high school scholars and young adults (16-24) overcome the long-going impact of systemic racism, the COVID-19 pandemic, and ongoing national economy challenges. Minority students, specifically males; need positive male role models in their lives, resources, and ongoing support. Our Assets will minimize these setbacks with training resources via a leadership development initiative to create: The Equity Leadership Academy.


What is the primary issue area that your application will impact?

Youth Economic Advancement (sponsored by Funding Partner, TBA)

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

Central LA

South LA

South Bay

County of Los Angeles

City of Los Angeles

LAUSD (select only if you have a district-wide partnership or project)

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

Pilot or new project, program, or initiative

What is your understanding of the issue that you are seeking to address?

Schools do not account for learning differences; many trade schools do not have strong marketing and recruiting budgets, and transitioning to a two-or-four year institution is not a guaranteed luxury for all youth due to financial responsibilities or aging out of the foster system. Two key challenges: 1) Social and Emotional Skill Development Delayed: During the pandemic students missed out on opportunities to develop social and emotional skills needed to be successful later in life. “Noncognitive skills are demonstrably as important as other cognitive skills to ...thrive both in school and later in life.” (Source: Economic Policy Institute) 2) College Applications Declined: Applications for federal student aid were down 16 percent last fall, as were submissions to the Common Application. (Source: The Washington Post) Many efforts focus on STEAM (white-collar roles) related programs but overlook career choices that keep our city functioning such as logistics and blue-collar trades.

Describe the project, program, or initiative this grant will support to address the issue.

The Equity Leadership Academy is focused on accepting people where they are, and supporting them to where they want to go. We will do this through key programming that focuses on Civic Engagement, Personal Enrichment, Social Entrepreneurship, and Gainful Employment. People of color have experienced too many hardships and the things mentioned above are the best way to help create a whole-balanced human. Our goal is to have scholars come through our academy in 6-month intervals although the program is a three-year program; followed by a lifelong alumni circle for continuous support. There will be bi-weekly check-ins and in-person meetups for career and cultural discovery. The OA team will dedicate our time, treasure, and talent to ensuring that our greatest asset: our community, flourishes for the long haul. Scholars are involved for a minimum of three years; upon graduation, they will have access to our future alumni network. The following is a short list of trades: Welding, Electrical Lineman, Automotive, and Trucking. Focus areas of our academy programming: Leadership & Communication Skills, Collaboration, Critical Thinking, Cultural Enrichment, Financial Literacy, Cultural Diversity, and Community Interaction. Pods: Scholars will be grouped into learning pods of three or four students; ideally pursuing the same trade. Purpose of Pods: Grouping scholars together will help foster accountability and peer support. Cohort One: 15 Scholars Cohort Two: 25 Scholars

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

The Equity Leadership Academy is our solution for rebuilding and reskilling youth in Los Angeles from the pre-pandemic, pandemic, and post-pandemic trauma. We intend to close the achievement gap, decrease unemployment, and advance overlooked communities simultaneously. Through career-focused modules and personal development at the core of our program we will assist young people in finding employment through certified opportunities and seeking higher education if they choose so. Most crucially, we aim to support underprivileged youth in taking their place as the next generation of community leaders as they join the Los Angeles workforce (including city jobs). We will empower scholars by going beyond their school curriculum to support their individual well-being. With the support of this grant, OA will build a customized program designed to address the aforementioned challenges that impede community advancement in order to limit crime and create a talent pipeline for trade careers.

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

Our data capabilities and data-driven solutions will provide a variety of assessments to measure scholar retention, scholar engagement and advancement, certificate graduation rates, career placement, and insights into their self-awareness and social and emotional competencies. Assessing learning, impact, and ROI in their lives, beyond the program, are key components of our program design and development mapping. Through our hybrid platform, we can measure student progress in a variety of ways via automated tools that allow for metrics to be tracked, include but are not limited to: - Assessment Tools (Progress Tracking, - Attendance - Coursework Review Assessments - Asynchronous Training Courses - Collaboration and Sharing - Feedback (Debriefs, Pod Recaps, Surveys) - Engagement Measuring Tools (Social Media, Discussion Boards)

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

Direct Impact: 130

Indirect Impact: 1,105