Pathways to the Creative Workforce

In November 2016, the LA County Arts Ed Collective convened a group of 30 professionals representing entertainment, higher education, K-12 education, and nonprofit arts organizations to discuss existing efforts and share ideas to support youth access to the creative economy.

In order to prepare LA County public school students to contribute to the
creative economy, quality arts education is imperative.

The group developed a vision, mission, and goals:

Vision

All LA County youth have access to information, resources, opportunities and support systems that lead to successful employment in the creative workforce.

Mission

Identify, align, and leverage resources for providing youth, ages 15-24 years old, with concrete entry points into the creative workforce.

Goal

Build a coalition of stakeholders interested in or already engaging in activities that support youth access to the creative workforce.

As a first step, engage the Arts, Media, and Entertainment sector of the creative workforce in aligning and leveraging existing resources to increase efficiencies and impact.

Cultural Equity & Inclusion

In April 2017, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion for the Arts Commission to begin implementing several of the recommendations outlined in the Cultural Equity and Inclusion initiative (CEII) report. Included in these recommendations is development of an initiative to prepare youth for careers in the arts and creative industries by creating access to work-based learning and leadership opportunities for junior high and high school students, particularly students of color, low-income students, LGBTQ students, disabled students, current and former foster youth, and youth on probation, as well as others who experience barriers to participation in the workforce. This initiative is to be coordinated with the Entertainment and Information Technology sector strategy being implemented under the Regional Workforce Development Plan 2017-2020.

This recommendation included the hiring of a full-time staff position to support this work. The Program Manager position was filled in June 2018.

Field Scan

In July 2018, the Arts Commission launched a field scan to examine the current landscape of career development opportunities for youth in the arts and creative industries. To date, Thomas P. Miller & Associates has conducted four focus groups (three with youth) and approximately 65 interviews with stakeholders in LA County’s creative economy have taken place to gain first-hand insights about career pathways, opportunities, and barriers. The Career Pathways to Creative Occupations Field Scan is an early step to identify the existing pathways and programs for Los Angeles County Youth ages 15 to 24.

To gather first-hand insights into the research questions, researchers conducted four focus groups and hosted nearly 65 phone or in-person interviews with Los Angeles County youth and creative industry stakeholders, including arts organizations, workforce development experts, educators, city and county leaders, and creative industry employers in Los Angeles County.

The results of the field scan will be used to develop meaningful and effective strategies to provide youth with access to careers in LA County's creative industries and build on resources and programs already in place.

Objectives

Over the next 18 months, this workgroup will achieve the following objectives:

  1. Identify and engage a rich variety of stakeholders
  2. Convene stakeholders so that the field becomes more knowledgeable about the different entities working in this space, their successes and their challenges.
  3. Research, record, and map the various programs currently helping to prepare youth for participation in the creative workforce, with the goal of aligning efforts to achieve scale across LA County.
  4. Surface and build consensus around promising practices that will help to increase the impact of efforts across the County.
  5. Create internal and external messaging to promote the value and visibility of effective support systems that provide pathways to the creative workforce.