LA2050 Grants Challenge applications are open now through June 28th, 2024.
2023 Grants Challenge

Educational Justice for 800+ Low-Income Youth

In partnership with LA2050, College Track will empower 800+ low-income Angeleno youth to successfully earn bachelor's degrees through year-round holistic support, including hands-on STEAM exploration and workforce development. College Track is creating a more just Los Angeles by catalyzing the talent that exists in the city's most underserved communities, increasing college graduation rates, facilitating socio-economic mobility, and promoting educational and racial justice.


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

K-12 STEAM Education

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

East LA

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?

Census data shows deep racial disparities in educational attainment in Los Angeles: 59% of White residents hold bachelor's degrees, while just 27% of Black residents and 13% of Latinx residents do. With the average LA college graduate earning $29,424 more annually than the average high school graduate, a college degree is a powerful tool for promoting social mobility and combating racial and economic inequities. Research continually demonstrates that a bachelor's degree is the most direct pathway to economic mobility, civic engagement, and lifelong wellness - especially when paired with hands-on STEAM experience. Despite the promise of higher education, there is an unequal playing field in college access and graduation rates, and a stark underrepresentation of people of color in STEAM fields. College Track's programs are designed to combat these barriers, empowering our 800+ LA scholars to break cycles of intergenerational poverty.

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

College Track amplifies our scholars' intellectual curiosity and passion for learning using college readiness as a vehicle to activate their dreams, passions, and purpose. After enrolling in the program in the 9th grade, scholars attend weekly College Track sessions in-person at three Los Angeles student centers in Watts, Boyle Heights, and Crenshaw, where they engage in interdisciplinary, dynamic, and interactive sessions. College Track offers a wide range of STEAM programs, including (1) 12-week courses in which scholars build their own apps, learn college-level coding, and master other computer science topics; (2) award-winning robotics teams; (3) individualized tutoring in high school STEAM topics; (4) volunteer mentorship from STEAM professionals for one-on-one and group sessions; (5) paid internships in STEAM fields; (6) field trips to local STEAM businesses; and (7) access to iPads and other technology for student use. With a strong academic background in STEAM as the foundation, College Track is establishing a college-to-career pipeline by providing scholars with valuable career exposure through paid internships and other work-based learning opportunities. Scholars participate in day-long immersions into different companies' cultures, learning about career pathways and engaging in hands-on skill-building with company employees. Through these sessions, scholars map out their career goals, network, build their resumes, and learn what managers look for in employees.

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

through economic opportunity. College Track students earn bachelor's degrees at 2.5x the rate of their low-income and first-generation peers; 88% of College Track alumni are employed or in graduate school and 92% of those who are employed report earning enough to save each month; 92% of employed alumni reported having internal advancement opportunities and 38% were promoted within the past year; and, alumni ages 30+ earn an average annual income of $91,633, $20,000 higher than the national median. College Track is growing our Los Angeles programming, particularly in Crenshaw which welcomed its first scholars in 2020 and has since more than doubled the number of African-American/ Black students enrolled in our program, making it more reflective of Los Angeles as a whole.

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

College Track Los Angeles scholars are achieving remarkable success in their journeys to economic mobility through a college degree: - 99% of the class of 2022 high school seniors matriculated to college - High school students achieved an average cumulative GPA of 3.51 - 25% of current scholars and 34% of college graduates have declared STEAM majors - 80% of our 85 college graduates to-date held an internship while in college College Track's primary objective is to empower students from underserved communities to cultivate the skills, resources, and STEAM education they need to achieve economic mobility. Our goals are as follows: - 80% of 12th grade students will graduate with a 3.0+ GPA - 95% of 12th grade students will matriculate to college - 90% of college freshmen will persist to their second year in school - Our group of Los Angeles alumni grows to exceed 100 scholars with the addition of the class of 2023

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

Direct Impact: 800

Indirect Impact: 2,400