L.A. Futures Academy Brings Real-World Career Training to Diverse Public High Schools
Since the year 2000, the L.A. Futures Academy has partnered with major creative companies to deliver a career pathway program in support of the college-bound initiatives of our diverse public high schools. The school-day model engages senior high school youth in the professional work environment for two years, illuminating the many disciples associated with advertising, marketing, media and digital communication fields. The program’s business partners have included leading creative forces headquartered in Los Angeles, including TBWA\Chiat\Day, Saatchi & Saatchi, DDB, IgnitedUSA, and Rubin, Postaer & Associates (RPA). The program is shaped to strengthen communication, collaboration and critical thinking through mentorships, training and student-driven team building projects.
Many schools have formed smaller learning communities that combine academic and technical study organized around broad industry themes. The L.A. Futures Academy is designed to bring this work-based learning to life. During their 11th and 12th grade years, Academy students directly engage with business and creative professionals at the headquarters of cutting-edge firms. They’re given an inside look at the development of key projects from concept through completion. Both the students and their instructors are familiarized with state-of-the-art practices and industry trends. Team projects leverage communication skills.
In their senior year, their learning is put into practice as they service local nonprofits who act as clients. For example, this year’s Dorsey High School seniors revitalized promotional tools for education-parenting-job training at Community Build, an inner city resource for underserved youth. Lead instructor, Carla Estes says, “This program has open our eyes to possibilities that are out there in the creative industry. My students have matured so much through this learning process-an opportunity they wouldn’t have without L.A. Futures.”
In the end, students leave the Academy with increased social capital, practical tools, higher expectations and a clearer understand of the demands of today’s employer. This is even more significant as the creative industry is the largest workforce contributor in the City of Los Angeles. Reciprocally, the L.A. Futures Academy makes an investment in a future diversified workforce by positioning low-income, underserved young people on success tracks into college and career.
The L.A. Futures Academy also partners with thinkLA, a diverse, nonprofit collaborative tying all the local media, marketing, entertainment, and advertising communities together in Los Angeles. The consortium promotes the Academy in keeping with their mission to ground L.A. as a center of innovation with up-and-coming talent. The L.A. Futures Academy is a program of Light Bringer Project, a nonprofit cultural arts organization that has served L.A. County since 1990.
It fulfills our vision to become an invaluable contributor to the health and vitality of the Los Angeles community, and a leader in creating pathways into higher education and advertising and communications disciplines for deserving, underserved young people.
This program is made possible in part by a grant from the City of Los Angeles, Department of Cultural Affairs.