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

LAUSD Career Discovery and Financial Literacy

Providing financial literacy and career readiness workshops in schools in LA County, Building Blocks for Kids: MORE Program is set apart by being integrated into the school day. Our mission is to empower individuals with essential financial literacy skills to build a strong financial foundation, breaking the cycle of generational poverty. Through instilling confidence and competence in career-related areas, we aim to bridge the gap between education and employment, ensuring that underserved youths are well prepared for their career goals.


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?

Other:: LAUSD Van Nuys High School

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 a recent national report California received an "F" grade for failing to adequately provide students with a personal finance education (Champlain College, 2017). 48% of high-schoolers say they learn about investing from social media (Moneyzine, 2023). Financial illiteracy is harming students not due to a lack of interest but a lack of opportunity. 51% of high-schoolers felt that money management was the course that would most benefit their lives (Moneyzine, 2023). Closing this knowledge gap is especially critical for low-income students. In order to prepare these youth for a brighter future, we aim to empower them with meaningful career opportunities and tools. Studies have shown that increased financial literacy can greatly contribute to increased economic well-being and mobility (Fernandes, Lynch, and Netemeyer). To address this issue, financial literacy and career readiness should be a priority in education.

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

The program will be implemented in partnership with low-income high schools. A total of 23-26 weekly lessons will be integrated into the school day. A student needs assessment is conducted at the beginning of the program. Survey results provide valuable information about students' existing knowledge, interests, and areas for improvement. During the first semester, students will receive in-depth financial literacy education covering topics such as budgeting & savings, credit & debt, and financial goal setting. Our program also covers advanced topics such as college finances, entrepreneurship, and asset diversification. Student knowledge will be applied through hands-on activities and simulations. Participants receive a personal bank account that grows through incentive-based activities. This approach teaches students financial responsibility, encourages positive behaviors, and rewards success. During the second semester, the program will shift its focus to career development. Students will be exposed to a wide range of career opportunities across diverse sectors. Expert speakers will provide real-world insights and guidance. It is our mission to enable youth to pursue higher education, be it college, trade school, or certificate programs. To help our students succeed, we award scholarships. In addition, we offer paid summer internships alongside our college cohort. Together, they collaborate on outreach initiatives, content creation and various other projects.

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

Our program empowers students to create a solid financial foundation, ending the cycle of financial insecurity and contributing positively to their own lives and communities. From an early age, they can establish healthy financial habits, make thoughtful choices about spending and saving, and feel confident in managing their finances. Additionally, the program provides students with the opportunity to develop communication, critical-thinking, and leadership skills through hands-on learning experiences. The skills of resume writing and interviewing help students become more confident and better prepared to stand out in the application process. Students can make informed career decisions by exploring career options and aligning their educational pursuits with their desired careers. We envision a future in which LA County's young people become catalysts for economic growth, stability, and vibrancy by equipping them with financial tools and pursuing fulfilling careers.

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

BBFK utilizes regular pre- and post-surveys to measure outcomes among participants, consistently revealing the positive impact of the program. Over 90% of USC Hybrid High students demonstrated budgeting proficiency, and 100% believed every high school student should participate in the program. 94% of participants also enjoyed having a different guest speaker every week. Underscoring the program's effectiveness in engaging students through diverse perspectives. 93% of students at Hueneme High School reported personal growth, and 63% shared information with their parents. An indication of the potential ripple effect of the program, which could extend far beyond classroom settings. As a student from Hueneme High School said, "I've realized how much I can accomplish and how I can succeed as a result of this program." "It's inspiring to see the kids connect the dots...and identify companies that share their values," says Patrick Nygren, our partner from Union Bank.

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

Direct Impact: 113

Indirect Impact: 600