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Mitchell Joins LA-Tech to Connect South L.A. Youth with Industry Careers
By Cora Jackson-Fossett, Staff Writer
Published July 22, 2021

From left are L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell, South L.A. students Kristen Mae Hernandez and Francisco Rubio, HopSkipDrive CEO Joanna McFarland, LA-Tech.org Co-Chair Adam Miller and Jaideep Upadhyah with Unite LA. (Cora J. Fossett/L.A. Sentinel)

L.A. County Supervisor Holly Mitchell announced a new initiative to connect 100 South L.A. youth to careers in the tech industry.

At a press conference on July 14, Mitchell and executives from LA-Tech.org and mobile app HopSkipDrive unveiled a paid internship program to prepare young people for jobs in the burgeoning field.

Officially called the South LA Intern Initiative, Mitchell said the enterprise is part of a wider mission to create talent pipelines that help expose low-income groups who have been historically disconnected from the tech sector to opportunities within L.A.’s tech industry.

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“First and foremost, we are building the pipeline for young people of color, who have the capacity, but just need the opportunity,” Mitchell said.

“It’s about making sure our youth even understand what these jobs are. [I want] to make sure that the students in the areas I represent are prepared and exposed through the internships and that they’re ready and I know they will be,” she added.

According to Adam Miller, co-chair of the nonprofit LA-Tech.org and founder of Cornerstone OnDemand, the South LA program is part of the 1,000 Intern Initiative formed by LA-Tech and companies like HopSkipDrive, which is a student transportation service, to provide opportunities to youth in economically disadvantaged Black and brown communities.

To participate, young people between the ages of 16-to-24-years-old can submit an application at LA-Tech.org. LA-Tech staff will conduct the initial screenings and forward the applications to tech companies, who will interview the candidates.  The company will also assist high school juniors and seniors in securing a work permit.

“We supplement the program to help people get ready for their interview, internship and to work. We give training in soft skills like how do you dress at work, how do you act at work, do you text or call. So we help people understand how to prepare for the job,” explained Miller.

During the internship, students will be introduced to the array of jobs in the technology field as well as learn technical skills. Also, the program offers counseling, networking sessions and guest speakers.

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“People in the tech community often network because one set of relationships lead to the next set of relationships, which often leads to the next job. So we want to encourage that kind of networking and supplement it with additional training,” he noted.

“Also, we’ll have speakers and executives from the top companies [coming in] who will talk about what’s a job like in sales or marketing, what it means to be a lead developer and help people understand what the opportunities are, how to manage their time, how to manage their relationships and be more effective,” Miller said.

Applications will be accepted at LA-Tech.org until September 14.  The selected participants will receive 120 hours of paid work experience in areas such as business development, design, IT, and software development.  Students also must commit at least 20 hours per week, have access to a device and Wi-Fi and provide proof of residence. After applying, candidates will be asked to complete a pre-recorded interview.

“If you run into any snags, call my office at (213) 974-2222 and we’ll have staff to walk you through [the application process] and connect the dots,” Mitchell said.

For the application and information, visit LA-Tech.org.

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