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

From First Gen to First Job

Idea by CareerSpring

First-generation and low-income (FGLI) students often lack the information and social capital necessary to fully understand their career possibilities and identify job opportunities. This results in chronic underemployment despite their education and massive potential that would add significant value to our labor market. That is why we created CareerSpring: a FREE resource for FGLI students across the country and now in Los Angeles to learn about careers, gain career prep skills, network with professionals, and apply for internships and jobs.


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

Youth Economic Advancement (sponsored by the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation)

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

Central LA

East LA

San Gabriel Valley

San Fernando Valley

South LA

West LA

South Bay

County of Los Angeles

City 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?

Due to centuries-long systematic inequality coupled with a historical and intentional exclusion, we have growing education and income inequality in our country. According to an analysis by the Pew Research Center, the wealth gap between America's richest and poorer families has more than doubled since 1989, and now one-third of Americans live below the poverty line. This number is even higher in certain parts of the country, particularly Los Angeles County. However, data from the federal government's National Center for Education Statistics show that higher education can greatly benefit young people coming from low-income families. This data gives us hope. Today, more than 30% of college students are FGLI college students. In the UC and Cal State systems, this number is doubled or even tripled. Research by NASPA shows that this results in millions of FGLI graduates who are underemployed, despite their education and massive potential. That is why we created CareerSpring.

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

In order to facilitate the movement of FGLI college graduates into high-quality, meaningful employment, CareerSpring employs a change model that leverages the pre-existing potential of these students, while creating access to the resources they're missing to unlock that potential. This change model is based on two fundamental beliefs: 1. that FGLI college graduates already have the academic preparation and intellectual capacity, determination, and desire necessary to realize their dreams and contribute to our society, and 2. that access to the information and social capital first-generation college graduates are missing to realize their fullest employment potential can be delivered through our virtual platform that is accessible from anywhere at any time. Our platform is coupled with CareerSpring staff and over 1,000 professionals who volunteer as Career Advisors to work one-on-one with CareerSpring students as well as intern and job opportunities provided by our Employer Partners. By providing FGLI students with information to develop accurate and meaningful career aspirations, understand the steps to realize those career aspirations, and identify/apply to employment opportunities aligned to those career aspirations, as well as develop a network of contacts and relationships that support and help facilitate positive, personal and professional advancement they are able to unlock their employment potential and launch meaningful careers.

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

CareerSpring has launched in 8 cities across the country since August of 2020 with a limited staff and budget and launched LA in March of 2023. Currently, there are 10,000+ FGLI high school and college students registered on our platform with 200+ Employer and Education partners and 1,000+ volunteer Career Advisors and Candidate Coaches. CareerSpring has placed 230+ of our students in internships and jobs. SHORT TERM Register 1000 FGLI students and 200 volunteers on the platform, secure 10 Education and Employer partners and 20 intern/job placements by October 2024 LONG TERM To partner with every high school, college, and nonprofit organization that serve FGLI students in LA County to ensure that students have the information and social capital necessary to be prepared for and access meaningful employment. If CareerSpring is fortunate enough to secure a LA2050 grant, we know that the exposure and financial support will help us achieve success in LA!

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

As an early-stage project, our team has created a framework for measuring success that will realize our mission and vision. We will focus on 5 Strategic Priorities: -Building a network of employer and education partners committed to career access -Facilitating "World Class" intern/job placement that benefits both employers and students -Managing resources that enable the organization to operate effectively -Designing an exceptional online user experience -Curating and providing access to diverse, high-quality, free career resources Our Priorities will drive which Initiatives we pursue and the outcomes we aspire to reach. For each of these Priorities, we have a subset of metrics by which we can measure the extent to which we are achieving our mission. These metrics include both numerical and qualitative goals, including the number of users and job placements, active user rates, student and employer satisfaction with our work, and revenue. We are happy to share our comprehensive plan.

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

Direct Impact: 1,000

Indirect Impact: 10,000