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

Where STEAM Meets the Ocean

AltaSea, Battleship IOWA and the Los Angeles Maritime Institute have joined forces offering waterfront STEAM education programs to 30 students growing up in the foster care system. The objective is to build a school-to-career pipeline in the Blue Economy that targets foster youth, kindergarten through grade 14. These STEAM programs provide workforce development skills and future economic mobility to students seeking 21st century lucrative careers by incorporating the past, the present, and the future through our organization's collaboration.


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

Support for Foster and Systems-Impacted Youth

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

East LA

South LA

South Bay

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?

35,000 children currently live in LA County foster care. Statistics show that compared to children growing up in their family home, former foster youth are more likely to end up in prison, 20% end up homeless, 70% of females are pregnant before they are 21, and less than 3% of former foster youth obtain college degrees. Where STEAM Meets the Ocean changes these dismal statistics giving these children a future in the emerging $1.5 trillion Blue Economy projected to double in the next decade. California's coastline is one of the state's greatest assets and our economic success depends on training the next generation with the necessary skillsets for future ocean tech careers. Foster youth in particular are an overlooked, untapped resource for the 21st century workforce who will keep California the largest subnational economy in the world. Our organizations work together facilitating access to education and employment opportunities, further enhancing the social mobility of foster youth.

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

Where STEAM Meets the Ocean is a unique model providing high school foster youth an 18week journey in ocean technology from the past, present, and future. LAMI begins their 6week program with life experiences aboard LAMI's tall ships replicated from 18th century ships dependent on the wind to move cargo. Students view a working port up close as actual members of the ship's crew while they sail the harbor, create logbooks, and record sea time hours towards future port careers in oceanography, marine engineering, wind power, and a ship Captain's license. In touring the decks of Battleship IOWA, students link how sailors' daily responsibilities are dependent on understanding technology and how innovation changes how job duties are performed. Activities based on topics in buoyancy, projectile motion, and geolocation connect students to what they've learned from workspace on the ship where concepts are brought to life on the navigation bridge, engineering compartments, and the anchor windlass room. Building upon the future with AltaSea's pioneering work in ocean farming and marine renewable energies, students will complete the 6 week program working one-on-one with scientists. Student researchers will learn about aquaculture farming food and fuel, carbon capture technology reducing ocean acidification, and marine energies creating electricity from wave motion, for instance. Our organizations provide hands-on activities with 'real-world' purpose in emerging Blue Economy fields.

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

Los Angeles is a coastal city where ocean-focused, blue tech careers are plentiful. - Marine related gross domestic product is growing faster than the US GDP - 40,000 new jobs created in the blue economy in the next five years - Our organizations are offering skills-based experience for this workforce We are committed to providing students with on-the-water experiences and ocean-focused skills that they may consider as a career. LAMI teaches historic STEAM skills providing a foundation in understanding the force of wind while working as a crew member. IOWA breaks down basic laws of physics answering how a 45,000 ton steel ship floats, and the technology that influences modern ship navigation. AltaSea will impact students with future industry; renewable electricity produced by waves, not coal and petroleum. They will understand solutions to climate change while stopping the problems leading to it. This program is long-term folding into internships and college certificate programs.

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

Our waterfront education triad has extensive experience teaching as separate organizations and as a team to learners of all ages. Each maintains a program assessment toolbox measuring impact success by pre- and post-surveys customized to the program, post program interview calls with teachers and/or counselors monitoring whether the students continued their education with ocean STEAM subjects, and direct invitations to the participants to continue their studies with our organizations through internships and volunteer positions. Each of our organizations works with foster youth/systems-impacted organizations making student updates readily accessible. We will measure success if participants are enthusiastic about what they are learning and choose to continue their studies in STEAM focuses.

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

Direct Impact: 30

Indirect Impact: 10,000

Describe the role of collaborating organizations on this project.

LAMI will provide 6 sails to foster youth/systems impacted students (8th grade-12th grade) where participants will become members of the crew aboard a tall ship learning how to read a navigational chart, using physics to capture optimal wind in the sails, and pilot the ship. Battleship IOWA will provide onboard instruction to these students (8th grade-12th grade) by exposing them to a variety of STEAM concepts and hands-on activities onboard that teach the basics of buoyancy, projectile motion, simple machines, and geolocation. AltaSea will provide the opportunity for these student researchers to work alongside scientists and professionals in 6 different lab spaces learning about renewable marine energies, aquaculture, husbandry, cultivating kelp and extracting D from the seeds.