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learn / 2015

Palisades Charter High - Guiding the Path to College & Career Success!

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Maker Challenge by Palisades Charter High School (PCHS)

The Career Services Center will provide students with the tools needed for success in college and the workforce by establishing a model career services program that is student-centric, takes the students’ education outside the classroom, and brings community and business resources onto campus. Through the use of advanced technology, and business community and local government resources, the program will allow students from the City of LA to compete with students from all over the world.


In what areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?

  • Palisades Charter High School; Pacific Palisades; LA County

How do you plan to use these resources to make change?

  • Conduct research
  • Engage residents and stakeholders
  • Implement a pilot or new project
  • Expand a pilot or a program
  • Mobilize for systems change

How will your proposal improve the following “Learn” metrics?

  • Youth unemployment and underemployment
  • District-wide graduation rates
  • College matriculation rates
  • Student education pipeline (an integrated network of pre-schools, K-12 institutions, and higher education systems that prepares students for seamless transitions between high school, higher ed

Describe in greater detail how you will make LA the best place to learn.

Palisades Charter High School (PCHS) represents a microcosm of Los Angeles, serving students from over 100 zip codes across the city. Los Angeles is one of the most economically vibrant areas of the country, and students have the potential to work in a wide range of fields. Despite this, students are unprepared for planning a career path. Colleges lament that students do not have defined goals, and employers report that young people lack skills. PCHS will expand opportunities by launching a robust Career Services Program that exploits the potential opportunities in our thriving City for our student population.
Existing non-school based programs are fragmented and are challenged in trying to engage students. With busy schedules and transportation challenges, students need access to information on campus. Incorporating career planning into the curriculum is the best way to engage youth. We believe this program will be impact the larger community by connecting students to the workforce across the City.
We will make LA the best place to learn by taking the following actions:
1) Spring Workforce Fair – Event that brings local businesses and other organizations on campus to offer employment and internships, as well as educational workshops on workforce readiness skills.
2) Internship, Job, and Mentorship Placement – Placements through the Workforce Fair, and a web-based portal of other job, internship or mentor opportunities.
3) Coordination with Academic Curriculum - Integration into the classroom curriculum, starting in the 9th grade through completion of an Interest Profiler in freshman English classes, and a writing component on career choices. Using the interest profiler, academic and college counselors will share guidance on educational paths to careers. 4) Career Exploration and Counseling - Opportunities to learn about careers through presentations by professionals in various fields. Help with employment coaching, resume writing, interview practice, and job search skills.
5) Student Outreach - Use of student groups such as Village Nation, Black Student Union, Fuerza Unida and Latino Student Union to ensure reaching a wide range of students. We are inspired to level the playing field for all students across Los Angeles. Our hope is that, through establishing an innovative Career Services Center at one of LA’s largest public high schools, this model can be replicated for all high school students across the city.

Please explain how you will evaluate your work.

The PCHS Career Center will be evaluated in year one through measurements of use and access. Indicators will include:

Freshmen who complete career profiles by May (2015-16 academic year);

Freshmen who complete career profiles by December (2016-17 academic year);

Attendance at the Workforce Fair and job skills sessions;

Students placed into internships and jobs;

Attendance at career panels; Reports from Pali Career & College software programs

To ensure widespread access, we will also track the number of unique students who have accessed any single service.

We intend for this program to be self-sustained after the initiation grant. We will seek an academic partner to conduct a longitudinal study to provide more robust outcome information on student career achievement. We believe that the students will be gaining skills that will serve them long after they graduate from high school.

How can the LA2050 community and other stakeholders help your proposal succeed?

  • Money (financial capital)
  • Volunteers/staff (human capital)
  • Publicity/awareness (social capital)
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles, etc.)
  • Education/training
  • Technical infrastructure (computers, etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support
  • Quality improvement research