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

Youth of Promise Brings Opportunities

When youth are supported holistically, they reach their goals and thrive. The Youth of Promise Opportunities initiative links youth development programming with career readiness support to provide alternatives to incarceration and economic advancement opportunities for youth.


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?

San Gabriel Valley

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 Pasadena, long-term social disinvestment and historical redlining have led to a deeply inequitable built environment: the city ranks second in the largest income gap between richest and poorest households among California's 50 largest cities. This economic disparity is experienced acutely in Northwest Pasadena (zip code 91103), where there is a near 30% child poverty rate (Huntington Hospital). According to the Justice Equity Needs Index (JENI) - a means to measure the disparate burden of criminalization and inequities- Pasadena's 91103 zip code has the highest overall need level (Catalyst California, 2022). Research indicates that: (1) initial contact and involvement with the justice system is associated with an increased likelihood of school dropout, trauma, and substance use (2) young people who do not have stable jobs by their early twenties are at greater risk for joblessness and lower lifetime earnings.

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

Youth of Promise (YOP) is a year-round program that works with local foster homes and law enforcement agencies to provide comprehensive diversion and development services for low-income, systems-impacted youth ages 12-18. The YOP Opportunities initiative focuses on educational planning, leadership development, career guidance, and employment pathways. The initiative utilizes an after-school curriculum that covers job search techniques, resume writing, interviews, and financial literacy. Within this curriculum, older youth - ages 15-18 - have the opportunity to work as interns supporting younger youth in the program, and all youth are supported in creating an employment plan. Plan pathways include: - In coordination with partner College Access Plan, YOP supports youth with college planning, applications, and financial aid. - Youth participate in an annual outdoor education trip with partner Outward Bound Adventure, where they are exposed to job opportunities including trail maintenance and natural habitat restoration. - Youth age 17 and older are eligible to participate in Flintridge Center's Apprenticeship Preparation Program, which prepares individuals for sustainable careers in union construction trades. - YOP refers youth to (1) Coffee With A Cause, which trains Transitional Age Youth (TAY) for internships at Rosebud Coffee and (2) Hospitality Training Academy, which trains individuals as union Baristas, Prep &Line Cooks, Room Attendants, and Hospitality workers.

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

After decades of a community safety strategy organized around police and punishment, Los Angeles County adopted a "Care First, Jails Last" approach to criminal justice. The County congruently established a "Youth Justice Reimagined" approach to transforming transform our system of youth punishment into one that cuts to the root of youth incarceration and provides for safety, healing and wellbeing. Additionally, the 2021 passing of the Bipartisan Infrastructure Deal (Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act) represents a generational investment in job creation. With the YOP Opportunities existing at the intersection of criminal justice reform and infrastructure investment, we believe that if successful we can be part of eliminating juvenile incarceration in LA County while simultaneously building the infrastructure and staffing for Los Angeles World Airports, the 2026 FIFA World Cup, and ultimately the LA 2028 Olympic Games.

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

The YOP Opportunities initiative began in 2022. Outcomes that we plan to measure include to measure include: number of youth who obtain an internship or other part time employment; increases in knowledge and confidence related to job-seeking; number of youth who enter post-high school training programs; youth who enter a 2-year or 4-year college. Success will be defined by a youth's completion of their Individual Employment Plan that reflects their personal career and education goals. Overall YOP program objectives focus on education and social/emotional development. YOP outcomes for the most recently completed school year include: - 90% of youth showed improvements in communication and conflict resolution; - 100% of high school seniors graduated on time; - 90% of youth did not return to or enter the juvenile justice system.

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

Direct Impact: 100

Indirect Impact: 300