The entertainment industry is notoriously difficult to break into, especially for low-income young adults. A new training program run by Venice Arts plans on changing that.

The Film & Digital Media Career Pathways Program launches on Feb. 17 and strives to build equity in LA’s biggest industry by dismantling the many barriers to entry for marginalized young people.

This first-of-its-kind pilot program provides skills training, hands-on projects, and internship placements to equip students with the confidence, experience, and connections necessary to find stable work in creative sectors.

“In addition to the systemic issues faced by women of all colors and people of color, there’s no real meaningful pipeline that helps to develop and support young talent and gives them a job they can move into,” said Venice Arts Executive Director, Lynn Warshafsky. “We’d like to see, as an outcome of this project, an easier pipeline for young people to enter early career roles.”

Funding is provided by Los Angeles County’s Workforce Development, Aging, and Community Services and enrollment is open to County residents ages 16 to 25 with priority given to individuals who are foster youth, out of work and not in school, homeless, and/or justice involved.

“We’re bringing all of our expertise in creative development and media arts education and working with the County to build and scale a model that will reach young people throughout the five districts of the County and foster relationships with industry partners that will really make a difference in young people’s lives,” said Warshafsky.

The 100 hour program has four levels to help students build up a robust and competitive job ready skill-set.

‘Level 1: Expose’, provides education about career pathways in film, digital media, animation, and advertising, while ‘Level 2: Explore’ focuses on virtual job-shadowing and hands-on digital media content creation.

Students who finish these levels will go on to small group, and hopefully in-person, sessions this summer for ‘Level 3: Train’, which prepares students to sit the Adobe Premier Pro Certified Associate exam, and ‘Level 4: Opportunity’, which connects them to paid internships.

Without such a program low-income young adults face a myriad of challenges in trying to gain employment in the creative world, which often necessitates a portfolio of completed work, industry connections, and the financial flexibility to accept low-paying or temporary job positions.

“They have to be really talented because they’re often competing against young people who already have connections or who have had many resources in the development of their talent,” said Warshafsky. “So they’ve got to somehow be a step above and they have to be able to navigate the uncertainty of job positions.”

The Pathways Pilot focuses on technical digital media creation skills, which will help young adults land stable jobs in creative PR, communications, film/animation, and marketing roles.

With a foot in the door and a guaranteed income, young adults will then have a solid base from which they can choose to pivot into less stable creative fields like filmmaking or photography.

“This program includes creative development, but it really focuses on job ready technical skills, because we’re interested in young people having sustainable work and a decent income,” said Warshafsky.

Level 1 of the program will be entirely virtual and begins on Feb. 17. Interested young adults can apply at https://www.venicearts.org/fdm.

Clara@smdp.com