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

Transforming the Face of Los Angeles' Tech Sector to Be More Inclusive of the Communities It Serves.

AOT's Los Angeles program model is structured to position underestimated students of color for competitive opportunities in the tech sector. During the grant period, AOT will: o Increase student tech skills development for 500 youth - working with them in a hybrid virtual and in-person environment. Of these youth, at least 80% will complete program graduation requirements and report an increased understanding of the tech skills taught. o Place 50 students in internships/work-based learning experiences. o Hire 24 AOT alumni as peer mentors.


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?

East LA

San Fernando Valley

South LA

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?

A UCLA/Pledge LA report finds that while the LA tech industry has made efforts to increase the diversity of its workforce, there are still disparities that exist. The percentage of Black employees at major tech companies remains low: 2.9% at Salesforce, 3.8% at Facebook, and 4.5% at Microsoft. These disparities begin with major barriers that exist for students of color to gain access to tech careers: o high-poverty schools with 12x less computer science courses than low-poverty schools. o cost-prohibitive access to coding camps with average cost of $13K. The result: only a small percentage of Black [9%] and Latinx [10%] students earn degrees in tech fields, and tech employees of color make up a small fraction of the workforce [Black-7% and Latinx-8%]. Yet, when exposed to tech skills development during high school and to instructors/mentors who mirror their live experiences, Youth of color are 8x more likely to explore tech as both a major in college and as a career choice.

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

AOT's Los Angeles programming consists of the following core initiatives engaging high school students recruited from underinvested public and charter schools: TECH360, Tech Flex Leaders, and Access Tech Internships. TECH360 is a three-week intensive for rising high school juniors/seniors during which they learn the fundamentals of web design and development and create a functional web application. TECH360 graduates then matriculate into AOT's year-long Tech Flex Leaders Program where students meet weekly and learn web development, master tech programs, and choose a tech track [UX Design, Product Management, Digital Marketing, Data Science, or Advanced Web Development] to gain additional skills prior to receiving a tech internship in summer 2024. Students graduate with a portfolio of technical projects and 285 tech training hours and professional development focused on career readiness. Each student also participates in one student technology competition, four industry technology career/professional development days with AOT's corporate partners, and becomes eligible for placement into work-based learning experiences and paid internships. AOT recognizes that given our students' economic circumstances, they may not be able to participate in our programs due to a need for paid opportunities. For this reason, we stipend $500 and $1,000 for participation and completion. Additionally, laptops are provided free of charge to those in need.

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

By 2024 - five short years after replicating in Los Angeles - AOT will have served nearly 1,500 students. And the impact has a domino effect: not only positively influencing the lives of the young people we serve, but those of their families and communities given that they are often the leaders in both. Achieving systemic success means AOT will have a broader impact beyond any one program year - by fostering change that changes the face of tech in LA to increasingly include the presence of low-income individuals of color receiving high quality computer science/STEM education and engaging in the local tech sector workforce through internships and career development. The tech sector jobs made available to AOT alumni come with an average salary of $132,930 [software developers], compared with the U.S. average wage of $61,900.

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

Social Emotional Learning [SEL] is at the center of AOT's work with its students. An advanced survey tool is used to measure SEL impact in our programs to target recommendations for program design based on student need, and provide real-time data and outcomes analysis. Recent highlights include: ? 98% of students demonstrated gains in at least one SEL capacity. ? 81% maintained or grew core SEL capacities. ? 40% added adults to their network who support improving their lives. Of the 500 LA students engaged during the grant period, AOT anticipates: o At least 80% will: ? graduate with a portfolio of projects. ? report an increased understanding of tech skills. ? be more interested in degrees/careers in technology. ? feel more prepared to pursue a degree/career in technology. o Participants will increase their social capital with a network of peers and professionals to support their future tech career. o 40% of graduates will continue onto additional AOT programs.

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

Direct Impact: 524

Indirect Impact: 5,240