The City of Los Angeles has become an exciting place for creative individuals and enterprises due to a desirable climate that attracts young entrepreneurs and innovators; a bustling entertainment and media industry; and a number of top-caliber art and design schools. Startups and micro-enterprises are the backbone of economic development and community vitality, yet have less access to investment and growth capital than large, more established businesses. One of the many ways the Department of Cultural Affairs supports young people is through the following workforce development initiatives: Celebrate Pacoima, the Creative Economic Development Fund (CEDF), the Creative Pathways program, the Los Angeles Times High School Insider program, and Mayor Garcetti’s Hire LA’s Youth program.
Celebrate Pacoima is a creative workforce development program using a social enterprise model to promote entrepreneurship, provide opportunities to local artists, and expand the existing cultural vitality of Pacoima. This program provides training and studio space to residents interested in the creative industries, providing an arts incubator for the community.
Located in a 4,000 square foot storefront along Van Nuys Boulevard in the Pacoima neighborhood of the San Fernando Valley, Celebrate Pacoima provides artist residencies, intergenerational arts education classes, internships, mentoring, and public arts programming. Celebrate Pacoima aims to advance equity and opportunity in the arts regardless of language, race, gender, or income. This program offers underrepresented communities in creative industries the tools and training necessary to succeed. The Arts Incubator will be available free of charge for selected Artists-in-Residence, or for nominal fees to the general public, and will provide access to tools, equipment, and art supplies.
CREATIVE ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT FUND (CEDF)
CEDF is a new program that provides funding for projects that will help launch startup ventures or expand micro-sized creative enterprises with five or fewer employees. This year, the partnership will provide $100,000 in grants of up to $12,500 each to independent businesses, self-employed artists or cultural producers, artist collectives, or nonprofit organizations with earned income activities that use commercial strategies in pursuit of an arts or cultural mission.
CEDF’s objective is to support creative enterprises that will have a positive economic development impact in the City of Los Angeles. In selecting the initiatives for funding, priority consideration is given to enterprises and their projects that benefit economically-disadvantaged communities or impact the thoroughfares of the City’s Great Streets Initiative.
Creative Career Pathways for Transitional Age Foster Youth (Creative Pathways) is a pilot partnership program between the Department of Cultural Affairs (DCA) and Hire LA’s Youth. The foster youth service organization and the Department of Cultural Affairs have partnered with the Right Way Foundation for this two year pilot program. The program’s aim is to open access and exposure to entry-level jobs in the arts for young people who have been involved in the foster care system with complementary services to support youth success in the program.
Young people aged 18 and over are eligible to participate in paid summer internship programs at organizations that are current and former DCA grantees for up to 200 hours of work over a period of 10 weeks. Participating hosts have included some of our City’s top museums and nonprofit visual and performing arts organizations. Career enrichment is also a part of the program, including a paid 20 hour training week at the Right Way Foundation and up to two days of activities and field trips dedicated to exploring both career opportunities in the arts as well as experiencing cultural locations in the city. Services and training from the Right Way Foundation includes a one-on-one case manager and therapy, work readiness skills, financial literacy, mentorship, and customized career/academic counseling to assist current and emancipated foster youth in making a transition to self-sufficiency.
LOS ANGELES TIMES HIGH SCHOOL INSIDER
The Department of Cultural Affairs also offers opportunities to high school students to engage in paid arts and culture journalism internships in partnership with the Los Angeles Times High School Insider program. HS Insider enables students to post their stories on LATimes.com and report on issues that matter to them and their communities. Through HS Insider, students join a network of more than 100 local schools, attend conferences, and reach thousands with their reporting on issues including arts and culture.
HIRE LA’S YOUTH
LA Youth at Work partners with HIRE LA’s Youth and the City of Los Angeles to prepare young adults for internships and entry-level jobs. A starter job is key in helping young people aged 14 to 24 learn about the workplace, find a mentor, and enter a path to meaningful and lifelong employment. The Department of Cultural Affairs participates in the Mayor’s HIRE LA’s Youth program through Creative Pathways and the Los Angeles Times HS Insider program, both unique programs for populations not commonly served by traditional paid internship programs: transitional age foster youth and high school students.