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dation joined the effort, and the Office of Supervisor Keith Carson and Alameda County helped youth radio ensure support and identify the place for digital media in the county’s economic forecast. In the midst of this work, the Clinton Global Initiative America chose to feature youth radio’s commitment to create the Pathway—and digital media and tech jobs for low-income youth—at its annual convening. This is the vision that animates youth radio’s Pathway: to be the connector between the incredible economic and social opportunity in the digital media and tech sector and the capable young talent growing up in the high-stress neighborhoods where youth grow up forced to struggle against racism, inferior educational opportunity, multi-generational poverty and violence. This work is not without its challenges. youth radio began by conducting a sector scan to determine where the jobs are and what skills they require. We found that across industries, employers are seeking candidates with skills in digital media and marketing. Simultaneously, youth radio formed a partnership with Berkeley City College (BCC), who is now teaching a college course in multimedia arts onsite in a

new classroom youth radio developed for the Pathway. The on-site course is the first in a series of three that leads to a BCC Certificate in Multimedia. Students who successfully complete the program will also graduate with a youth radio Certificate that indicates their successful completion. It is notable, that most of the youth now in the Pathway had previously avoided or left community college, but all 18 have stayed enrolled in the on-site BCC course. As community colleges look for new solutions to combat their presently dismal graduation rate, delivering the class on-site at a ‘home’ youth program was attractive and key to the Pathway’s retention rate. youth radio is also working with Santa Monica Community College to develop a statewide model for workforce pathways in the digital media and entertainment industries. This summer, the first youth radio cohort will begin their paid externships with employer partners across the Bay Area. The first positions will be with youth radio’s long-term content and community partners. Multiple systems have failed these youth, and we know this will be a multipronged approach with at least two segments of community college on-site and at

least two work placements before the youth radio Certificate will be awarded. “The Pathway is informed by the premise that the economy needs talent –a young diverse workforce that learns quickly, and plays on the strengths of youth culture who are early adopters and savvy users of new media and technologies,” says richard raya, youth radio’s executive Director. “Likewise, for low-income communities to transition out of long-term poverty, their youth must be equipped with the skills and support to participate in the new digital economy.” n Ashleigh Kenny is Youth Radio’s Development Director. She has a background in fund development for progressive, non-profit media companies in Washington, DC. Ashleigh works with Youth Radio’s leadership to secure support for Youth Radio’s programs and services, including its new Workforce Pathway. Jabari Gray leads Youth Radio’s Digital Media and Technology Pathway program. Gray brings with him a professional fundraising background with a focus on annual giving and corporate foundation relations, preceded by successful careers in experiential corporate marketing and environmental education, respectively. Learn more at:



The Innovation Intake  

Magazine of national thought leaders contributiing articles around college and career readiness, workforce & economic development