Students Attend LA Opportunity Fair & Forum

On Thursday, February 11th, five University of Southern California College Advising Corps advisers brought more than 230 of their high school students to the Los Angeles Convention Center for the first-ever LA Opportunity Fair & Forum. While there, they joined more than 6,000 young people from the Los Angeles area in creating resumes, completing job applications, and interviewing with the more than 30 companies in attendance.

The event was hosted by the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative, the nation’s largest employer-led coalition committed to creating pathways to employment for young people. Since its launch in July 2015, the initiative has grown to include 35 leading U.S. companies, all of whom have committed to launch careers for young people by offering internships, on-the-job training, and opportunities for skill development.

Hiring managers from coalition companies like Starbucks, Chipotle, Lyft, Nordstrom, Papa John’s, Pizza Hut, and Target met with thousands of young people – including many of College Advising Corps’ students – and made more than 1,000 on-the-spot job offers. Matthew Hill, who attends Rancho Dominguez Preparatory School in Long Beach, was one of several students from College Advising Corps’ partner high schools in the Los Angeles area to receive an on-the-spot offer – in his case, to work as a barista at Starbucks.

Tilo Lopez (CAC adviser), left, with Matthew Hill (student from Rancho Dominguez Preparatory School who was hired by Starbucks) and Dr. Nicole Hurd (Founder and CEO of CAC)

Tilo Lopez (CAC adviser), left, with Matthew Hill (student from Rancho Dominguez Preparatory School who was hired by Starbucks) and Dr. Nicole Hurd (Founder and CEO of CAC)

Hill’s adviser, Tilo Lopez, was inspired to see so many national and local partners joining forces to serve the youth of Los Angeles and provide them with opportunities for employment. “Not only are many of our students the first in their families to go to college, they are also the first in their families to seek employment through standard employment channels,” said Lopez. “For many, this was an event that boosted their confidence and served as a reminder that there are opportunities for employment for those who seek them. As Los Angeles Mayor [Eric] Garcetti asserted to those in attendance, it really was an historic day for our city’s youth.”

Brittney Espinoza (a senior at Rancho Dominguez Preparatory School), left, and an employer after Brittney’s interview

Brittney Espinoza (a senior at Rancho Dominguez Preparatory School), left, and an employer after Brittney’s interview

TreAllen Johnston, a senior at Rancho Dominguez Preparatory School who attended the event with Lopez, agreed. “I thought it was really helpful and learned a lot that I didn’t know before,” he said. “I had a good time talking to all the businesses that were there.”

In addition to connecting youth with jobs and internships, the coalition also provided access to various city and county services and opened doors for youth to get involved in their communities. The coalition’s efforts in Los Angeles are part of a broader movement to hire 100,000 Opportunity Youth (young people between the ages of 16 and 24 who face barriers to education and employment) nationwide by 2018.

College Advising Corps is inspired by the coalition’s commitment to creating pathways to opportunity for our nation’s youth and is proud to support their efforts. To learn more about the 100,000 Opportunities Initiative and future events like the one in Los Angeles, visit www.100kOpportunities.org.