create / 2021

Wrkz is a mentorship program that allow its participants to learn more about themselves while being equipped to pursue their career. We match our participants motivation with committed resources.

Idea submitted in the My LA2050 Grants Challenge by Wrkz, Inc.

Wrkz, Inc. is uplifting LA’s inner-city communities through mentorship, mental health support, and career development. We are building a community resource and support for young adults who are putting in the work to build their professional careers. On the way, we explore the world of arts and photography to discover and alleviate pain points in our participant’s career journey.


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

  • City of Los Angeles

What is the problem that you are seeking to address?

Youth in the inner cities of Los Angeles are inadequately prepared to succeed as working professionals as they transition into young adulthood. These individuals struggle through a gauntlet of an unequal distribution of resources: education, career/personal guidance, assets, and capital. They are highly motivated to pursue their dream careers. However, they lack the support needed to identify their core strengths, corresponding career paths, and how to become trained accordingly. They are in a daily battle against discrimination and systemic prejudices that inhibit them from breaking into the industries of their desire. They have experienced environmental trauma living in cities with high crime rates and violence. These cycles are recurring in our communities, resulting in few positive role models for our youth to be led by. Each generation is left to start from ground zero, toiling to figure out the ropes on their own.

Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.

Wrkz, Inc is a mentorship program that serves young adults ages 17 to 30 years old in the inner cities of Los Angeles. Our growing community of mentors, working professionals, and business entities have committed to bridging the gap of opportunity for our participants. We nurture genuine relationships by being intentional with how we engage with these individuals. Staff, mentors, and mentees sync up once a month to get to know each other. This creates a safe space for us to listen and sift through the interest, skills, and experience of our participants. In conjunction, they also work together to create objectives designed to step each mentee through the process of bringing their ideas and careers to life. In our work, we have noticed the need to help participants process their traumatic experiences of living in the trenches of LA. We host activities like focus groups for staff and participants to dialogue using guided questions. We aid in unpacking the challenges of life and pursuing a career. Our focus groups cultivate a space for everyone to feel safe and vulnerable in sharing their experiences. Within our community, participants find accountability and healing through each other and the support from our trained staff. Providing mental health support for our participants is pivotal to our mission as we strive to remove mental barriers that stop momentum towards their career goals. Sessions are currently virtual per covid-19.

In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?

Research (initial work to identify and understand the problem)

Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?

12
Direct impact
24
Indirect impact

Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.

Within our ecosystem of support and resources, our aim is to eliminate the toil in searching for opportunities and allow our participants to lock in on the work. Thus far our focus has been on mentoring and supporting the journey of individuals within the world of art and photography. Our minimum viable service is to create a digital art studio that will advance the skills of our participants while enhancing the digital presence of small businesses in the community. A cohort of three participants who are actively pursuing a career in photography or digital art will journey through our one-year, project-based scholarship program. Our highly motivated mentees will be matched with an experienced mentor who will offer creative direction and guidance for skills development. Their goal is to produce high-quality deliverables for their clients. Selected businesses are looking to present their product or service more professionally to increase their competitive edge within the economy.

What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?

We will be successful if mentors and mentees engage in collaboration, if projects are completed and if clients are satisfied with their deliverables. As we seek to build genuine mentorships between mentors and mentees, we’re successful if each pair attends at least 60% of their scheduled one on ones. Each project yields opportunities for mentees to gain knowledge and skills by working hands-on. They will explore and solve practical challenges within the art and photography space. We are successful if our participants complete at least 50% of their selected projects. Furthermore, our aim is to produce high-quality artifacts that add value to our client’s business. We are successful if participating small businesses find at least one produced artifact a valuable asset for the company a long with feedback for the improve of the program.

Which of the create metrics will you impact?​

  • Arts establishments
  • instillations
  • and exhibitions
  • Employment in the tech industries
  • Employment in the creative industries

Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.

  • LA is the best place to LEARN