create / 2016

Youth Cleantech Training Program

Youth Cleantech Training Program

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator

LACI will help make Los Angeles a more creative, inclusive economy by training our city's youth in the technical and business skills necessary to join LA’s rapidly growing cleantech sector.


Please describe your project proposal.

With the opening of the new 60,000 sq. ft. La Kretz Innovation Campus located in Downtown LA, LACI has training space, an advanced manufacturing prototyping lab, and access to growing cleantech companies – all under one roof. Our focus now is to leverage these assets and build a “sticky” talent pipeline that creates a more inclusive, robust cleantech sector in LA. We propose a summer youth program that includes technical training, a sponsored internship, and follow-on alumni programming.

Which of the create metrics will your proposal impact?​

  • Manufacturing activity
  • Employment in the creative industries
  • Jobs per capita
  • Measures of cultural and global economic influence (“soft power”)
  • Minority- and women-owned firms
  • High growth startups
  • Venture capital investment

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

  • Central LA
  • East LA
  • South LA
  • South Bay
  • County of Los Angeles
  • City of Los Angeles
  • LAUSD

Describe in greater detail how your proposal will make LA the best place to create?

Los Angeles Cleantech Incubator (LACI) is working to make LA the cleantech capital of the world and the best place to CREATE. Our top-tier incubator services and one-on-one mentoring has helped 55+ companies raise $70M+ and create 1,000+ jobs. In 2015, LACI was recognized by UBI Global as the #1 Cleantech incubator in the world.

Yet, despite LACI’s success and globally recognized programming, the participation rate of underrepresented Angelenos in the region’s cleantech sector mirrors the national trend – very low. And since research shows more diverse teams make better decisions and yield better financial results, in order for Los Angeles to enjoy significant climate improvements and long-term economic growth, it must create a bridge for all talent to access the cleantech sector and spur innovation.

To help us achieve this vision, LACI is launching the ‘Youth Cleantech Training Program,’ an integrated, multi-stakeholder approach which will support the cleantech and advanced manufacturing sectors’ growth while maximizing Angelenos’ training and employment opportunities, particularly among women and people of color. The program will start with theoretical work in the classroom, shift to hands-on work in the labs, and culminate in internships with cleantech companies. The aim of our comprehensive training program is to serve as an entry point for underrepresented Angelenos into the Cleantech Talent Continuum: STUDENT → INTERN → EMPLOYEE / ENTREPRENEUR. The 3-part program includes:

1.) Youth Program: The youth program will engage youth ages 18-24 from disadvantaged communities in an intensive summer program where they will have the opportunity to design and build a prototype to address an existing sustainability challenge in LA. This project-based learning approach will culminate in a Demo Day event where each participant will present their prototype solution to a panel of industry experts. 2.) Intern Program: Once the summer program is complete, youth program participants will be enrolled in fall-semester internships at a cleantech company, where they will gain additional exposure to career opportunities in the cleantech sector. 3.) Alumni Program: After their internships, youth program participants will join our Alumni Program, where they will engage with an extended network of resources, mentors, and support as they pursue their career goals.

By creating a ‘sticky’ cleantech pipeline of local innovators and problem solvers, LACI will activate Angelenos and make LA the best place to create.

Please explain how you will define and measure success for your project.​

LACI is committed to ensuring the quality and impact of our ‘Youth Cleantech Training Program’ and will measure our success through the following metrics:

  • Youth Program: o Number of students participating in the Youth Program o Students’ ability to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the cleantech sector o Students’ ability to design a working prototype and present their solution to a panel of industry experts
  • Intern Program: o Number of students placed in internships in the cleantech sector o Feedback from Interns and cleantech companies at the conclusion of the internship placement o Percent of interns who continue in the cleantech sector beyond their initial fall semester internship
  • Alumni Program: o Level of alumni engagement with the LACI network after the completion of their internship o Number of alumni who convert from INTERN → EMPLOYEE or from INTERN → ENTREPRENEUR (long-term goal)

In addition to the CREATE impact metrics checked above, we would like to offer a method to quantify LA’s “Measures of cultural and global economic influence (‘soft power’).” After years of positioning LA as a global cleantech hub, we believe our proposal will support LA’s ascent in “soft power”, which can be quantified by measuring: (1) the vibrancy of the region’s cleantech ecosystem, (2) the regional interaction between domestic and international cleantech players, and (3) LA’s attractiveness and convening power as a global influencer.

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

  • Money
  • Volunteers
  • Advisors/board members
  • Staff
  • Publicity/awareness
  • Infrastructure (building/space/vehicles etc.)
  • Education/training
  • Technical infrastructure (computers etc.)
  • Community outreach
  • Network/relationship support