2022 Grants Challenge

Social Media & Digital Marketing Youth Bootcamp

Destination Crenshaw and TEC Leimert are joining forces to provide local youth with opportunities to translate their social media interests into creative industry employment. Through a 10-week bootcamp featuring instruction by media CEOs and tech experts, followed by paid internship placements in South LA, participants will learn the fundamentals of social media and digital marketing and gain career experience. This innovative program aims to level the playing field for youth and address the lack of Black representation in the tech sector.


Please list the organizations collaborating on this proposal.

TEC Leimert

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?

South LA

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?

Young Black people drive social media, powering trends in pop culture, music, and fashion. But while their expertise brings financial wealth to media companies, they do not themselves profit. Furthermore, Black workers are highly underrepresented in the tech sector. Diversity reports from Twitter, Google, and Facebook say that less than 5% of the companies’ tech workers identify as Black. In Silicon Valley, Blacks and Hispanics make up between 3-6% of workers. Crenshaw has established itself as an axis of culture, activism, and the arts, specifically in the Black community. Leimert Park is the epicenter of historical and contemporary Black art, music, and culture in LA. Our program targets this area as we see immense value in having a socio-economic impact on community development, job creation and cultural preservation. By creating excitement around technology and entertainment, we can attract under-resourced talent into the digital creative economy to build sustainable communities.

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

As Destination Crenshaw looks for solutions to boost economic sustainability across age demographics and to support community sustainability, TEC Leimert is a natural partner. Through a multi-week program, TEC Leimert teaches local youth social media marketing and gives them the tools they need to turn their social media prowess into profit. Together, we are collaborating to increase opportunities for young people of color in the Destination Crenshaw project area to access creative industry employment. TEC Leimert’s NXT LVL program is a 10-week bootcamp for graduating high school students, college students, and young adults not currently enrolled in a four-year institutions (18-28) to use their affinities for pop culture and social media in a business setting. Through program modules, participants gain skills in all areas of digital marketing, including SEO, graphic design, creative editing, emerging tech, social media campaign management, media buying, audience research, and more. Our curriculum is designed by media CEOs, and youth are paired with mentors from the tech sector throughout. At the completion of the bootcamp, participants are placed in paid internships for two months with a Fortune 500 company followed by a ten-week internship at a local Crenshaw business. Youth meet regularly with program managers and TEC Leimert. The program aims to help youth build professional skills toward a pathway into the digital economy, enabling them to compete in the 21st century.

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

Access to quality education and career experiences is a given in higher-income neighborhoods, but these types of programs are infrequently found in South Los Angeles, perpetuating gaps in access, opportunities, and ultimately income for youth from under-resourced areas. Through this collaboration, our goal is to seed a generation of youth who have the resources and hands-on experience needed to gain meaningful employment in the creative industry sector. By combining career development with the natural interests of youth, we are generating a model for long-term employment through the creative economy pipeline in LA. Under-resourced areas also experience a higher percentage of local talent migration, which feeds a low-income, low-resource cycle. By incorporating paid internships with local businesses into our program, we are expressing to youth how they can be economic drivers in their communities, helping to increase neighborhood resiliency through a dedication to local employment.

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

The program is in its third year and continues to grow in participation. In year one, 4 youth participated and worked with 5 businesses; in year two, the number doubled; and in year three 14 youth worked with 12 businesses. Impact has been measured through successful completion of the program by youth and increased digital presence for participating local businesses as well as consistent social media posting and increased audience correlated to increased business earnings. The program is measuring the increase in youth earning power by evaluating the continued income earned. Through the program, youth earn an average of 30% more during their internships than previously. We will continue tracking income statistics to evaluate how the program is a catalyst for increasing income in the long run and how that increase relates to addressing income inequality within the community at large as well as impacts issues of underrepresentation in the technology and digital workforce.

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

Direct Impact: 70

Indirect Impact: 3,500

Describe the specific role of the partner organization(s) in the project, program, or initiative.

TEC Leimert and Destition Crenshaw will be jointly responsible for arranging program participants, including youth, mentors, guest speakers, and businesses providing internships; community engagement around the program opportunity; and evaluation. Destition Crenshaw will mage funding, reporting on resources, and coordition of the Crenshaw area businesses that will be participating in the program. TEC Leimert will provide twelve weeks of instruction for each intern, placement at the corporate organization, and program oversight.