2022 Grants Challenge

We Train Young Creative Industry Professionals

Red Hen Press has successfully trained and mentored interns who have gone on to to have successful careers in publishing, media, graphic design, and communications. Help us expand our paid internship program so that we can continue to produce young professionals who are ready for jobs in the dynamic and ever-evolving media landscape.


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

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?

In today’s job market, students need more than a degree, and that is where practical work experience comes in. Unfortunately, some of the most important creative job training opportunities in the form of internships are uncompensated, leaving only privileged and higher-income students the chance to enter creative fields. Lower-income students and recent graduates cannot afford to work without compensation in order to enter creative industries. A 2021 article shared by the National Endowment for the Arts asked analyst Bonnie Nichols to review existing data on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in arts and culture industries. Data on actual staffing in these industries was sparse, but the available results were worrying: members of racial/ethnic minority groups own arts businesses at a lower rate than they own businesses in general. We believe this is due to the systemic barriers to these industries facing people of color and communities with (for structural reasons) lower-income.

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

Red Hen Press (RHP) has hosted interns since its founding in 1994, and has now formalized a structured internship program with summer, spring, and fall cohorts. When possible, our internship program includes partnerships with local schools and organizations to provide stipends and fellowships to interns in Los Angeles. Red Hen Press interns learn how to write grants, edit manuscripts, design books, edit videos, build publicity campaigns, and a host of skills practical in creative careers, the publishing industry, and many types of arts professions. Each internship involves ongoing training, starting with basics and then, based on interest and ability, focusing on individual projects and expanding necessary skill sets. Currently, only summer interns receive stipends provided by Los Angeles County Arts Commission, but RHP would like to pay as many interns as possible. These stipends are a start toward leveling the playing field and giving students and graduates from low-income backgrounds access to valuable job training. Receiving funding for internship stipends aids those who want to branch out into the arts and gives them the opportunity to sustain themselves and their families without sacrificing their dreams.

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

Red Hen Press (RHP) is committed to its interns and promises far more than a line item on a resume—we seek to expand our intern program in order to produce the next generation of creative professionals. Rather than outsource projects to already established professionals, RHP seeks to serve as a “teaching press” and teach skills essential to working in arts and culture industries. A LinkedIn search of Red Hen Press alumni demonstrates our interns go on to major roles in the arts and culture space. We believe that a cohort of 11 interns will directly result in 11 well-trained creative professionals entering the Los Angeles labor market. Our intern program is also a true pipeline for professionals to enter Red Hen Press itself, demonstrating our own faith in our training programs. Currently, of our ten staff, four were hired out of our internship program and another three volunteered for years before applying to work full-time at Red Hen Press.

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 key metric of the success of our internship program has been the outcomes regarding career paths and professional placements of our interns after their time with Red Hen Press. Interns typically go into a range of creative industry job fields, such as digital media, marketing, publishing, graphic design, and tech. Former interns now hold job titles such as: Communications Coordinator, Marketing Specialist, Designer, Publicist, and Content Creator. Former Red Hen Press interns have gone on to work at publishing institutions such as HarperCollins, Scholastic, Oxford University Press, and Cambridge University Press. When possible, we track the career trajectories of former interns and gather testimonials regarding their time with our organization. Past testimonials noted how working at RHP allowed interns to transition from "unskilled" to skilled creative industry jobs.

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

Direct Impact: 10

Indirect Impact: 35,022