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

Empowering LA's Media Educators

Our annual Media Educators Conference (MEC), a multi-day, immersive event, draws approximately 100 educators from the Cal State system, LA County community colleges, and other colleges nationwide, to provide mentoring and training on the rapidly changing media landscape, current employment trends, and career development resources. Our goal is to keep these educators on the cutting edge of the entertainment business so that they can provide their students, the next generation of television leaders, with a state of the art education.


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

Access to Creative Industry Employment (sponsored by the Snap Foundation)

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

Central LA

County 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?

"Attending the Media Educators Conference was quite simply one of the highlights of my academic year... it had an overwhelming impact." - Nidhim Patel, Cal State University Lecturer and Alex Trebek Fellowship recipient Many Los Angelenos grow up lacking resources, connections, and opportunities for success in the entertainment industry. MEC seeks to address this issue by providing LA County educators from 2- and 4-year colleges with access to industry insiders, curriculum development tools, and mentorship connections, so that they have the information and resources they need to help their students gain access and employment opportunities in the entertainment industry. We also provide fellowships to college educators who demonstrate financial need through our Alex Trebek Legacy Fund. This expands the number of faculty who benefit from MEC, and therefore, brings the industry into more classrooms in LA County and opens up career pathways in the entertainment industry for Los Angelenos.

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

As one of the Foundation's core programs, MEC brings together media arts faculty and administrators from two- and four-year colleges, with priority given to educators from LA County community colleges and the Cal State system. By focusing on college faculty, MEC educates the educators, bridging the gap between classrooms and the industry and contributing to the overall workforce development of LA County. MEC provides educators with invaluable, first-person access to industry leaders; interactive site visits; up-to-date information on the current state of the industry and technology changes; and curricula-enhancing resources that educators need to advise their students on how to launch successful careers in the entertainment industry. As an added benefit of attending the conference, participating educators become members of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for one year, an extraordinary opportunity for those outside of the industry to connect directly with members of the Academy's 30 peer groups and participate in special industry-leading, professional development sessions and networking events.

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

Though LA County educators are given priority for MEC, only 19% of attendees were local in 2022. Our goal is to increase the number of area educators who participate in this one-of-a-kind conference, thus expanding our reach into LA's student community. To do so, we are partnering with area organizations to amplify our messaging within the SoCal community college system and the Cal State System. We are also offering fellowships to educators who demonstrate financial need through our Alex Trebek Legacy Fund, which covers conference expenses for recipients. Additional funding will help us scale up our marketing and outreach efforts and support additional need-based fellowships. LA County educators will gain much-needed training and resources to create impactful experiences in the classroom; students will gain access to knowledge, networks, and career opportunities; and LA County will benefit from the engagement and influx of homegrown talent to the entertainment industry workforce.

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

To assess MEC's effectiveness, we track the number, geography, and affiliation of participants. In 2022, we had 82 attendees, with 16 from LA County and seven LA-area Minority-Serving Institutions represented. We incorporate Listen4Good, an equity-based client feedback tool, to assess engagement, subject matter, and overall program efficacy. It allows attendees to share how they have implemented core learnings in their classrooms and how that information is resonating with students so that we can adjust conference offerings in the future. Thanks to our feedback and survey tools, we have seen a direct correlation between faculty who attend MEC and the increase in internship applications from students at these institutions. Furthermore, we use direct feedback from attendees as a way of measuring impact. For example, as a direct result of MEC, the Cal State system is now piloting a course on TV game show production to highlight game shows as a career pathway for students.

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

Direct Impact: 80

Indirect Impact: 5,000