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

Infinite Paths to Success: Exploring Careers

Through Step Up's career exploration programs, teens and young adults ages 14-29 gain a solid foundation rooted in equitable access to explore careers, identify personal and professional goals, gain mentorship, and connect with their community in a safe way - highlighting a myriad of 21st-century skills.? With structured support and access to a strong community Step Up provides career exposure to a variety of mentors and companies throughout the creative industry.


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

Income Inequality

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

Central 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?

Step Up's work supporting girls to define and pursue success on their terms has never been more necessary. In February, the CDC released findings that today's teen girls are experiencing sadness, violence and trauma at record levels - and at twice the rate of boys. We also know women and girls face systemic barriers when it comes to pursuing safety, representation, and financial stability. Our unique blended mentorship model as a hallmark, short-term, group exposure to many women and careers, allows girls to exercise their ability to relate confidently to adults, learn to network successfully and reap the benefits of a powerful "village" of support. Step Up's program delivery and outreach focuses on reaching girls from communities that are underrecognized and facing systemic and institutional barriers to opportunity. Empowering the next generation through mentorship, Step Up girls and young adults gain support to feel confident, connected, and career-ready in their paths to success.

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

Step Up's Explore Pathways programs guides high school girls and young women to experience and cultivate developmental relationships through field trips, job shadowing and networking with a multitude of companies. Through participation in our Campus program in collaboration with Los Angeles Area High Schools, teens gain access to places and people, seeking to guide the next generation of leaders in their post-secondary and career journeys. Specifically in Step Up Explore Pathways Programs, teens and young adults ages 14-29 are able explore career opportunities based on their own individual strengths, values, and preferences and have proven to both jumpstart and deepen a girl's college and career exploration. With Step Up programs, participants can experience an Explore Pathways fieldtrip or virtual job shadowing experience helping them to build tangible skills, industry connections, and support in their development and success. Providing a unique, safe space for teens and young women to feel confident in exploring creative careers with prominent companies and employers is essential in empowering the next generation of leaders in seeing what they can be. During its last program year (2021-22) Step Up engaged nearly 250 unique young adults and over 500 teens, 97% of Step Up who identify as being from a community of color, 100% of Step Up participants had access to multiple professional women role models, and 84% of participants reported growth in their confidence.

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

Los Angeles will gain more confident, career-ready, and connected teens and young adults with the expansion of Step Up's career exploration programs. During the 22-23 school year, Step Up has provided more than 1,500 additional hours of social emotional skill building and career exploration programming to 175 Los Angeles teens across six schools. To meet the demand of our waitlist of school and community partners, Step Up aims to serve at least 300 Los Angeles teens during the upcoming school year. We intentionally support high school teens identifying with girlhood ages 14-18, in partnership with high schools who support students living in unrecognized communities. 97% of Step Up girls identify as a person of color, and more than 60% of Step Up girls would be the first in their family to attend college. We hope to be able to expand specific opportunities for creative industry exposure and workforce development with partners like NBCUniversal, The A List, and Creative Artists Agency.

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 part of our empowerment evaluation framework, we co-create assessment plans for each program to identify participant growth across three key factors: agency, integrated identity, and competencies.? The design is a one-group pretest-post-posttest focused primarily on youth and mentors. Data relevant to short- and medium-term outcomes is gathered via electronic survey at the point of application and at program completion. Pretest data includes demographic characteristics in addition to baseline assessment of competency in SEL domains and gathered as part of program registration on an online form. Posttest data is gathered via surveys distributed electronically to participants at the appropriate time, including an assessment of competency in SEL domains. Analyses use longitudinal multi-level modeling, assessing the degree to which participants display change over time in the outcomes of interests.? Since?2017, more than 70% of?Step Up?girls have reported increases in their confidence.

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

Direct Impact: 150

Indirect Impact: 200