LA Convention Center Promotes Career Equity

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Eric Garcetti, Mayor of LA, with students from the LACC Career Academy

LA City Tourism Department has launched the LACC Career Academy to inspire the youth of historically underserved areas of Los Angeles to consider diverse career paths.

The LACC Career Academy was developed in response to LA Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Executive Directive No. 27 on Racial Equity in City Government and aims to increase equity in career representation.

A multi-year study analyzing the responses of 165,000 high school students found that less than half of students surveyed felt that their high school prepared them for future success. The LACC Career Academy seeks to create a space that will allow students to explore career options that will allow them to be better informed and more prepared for future success.

A dozen LA students attended the inaugural program, which was launched during the GSMA MWC21 at the Los Angeles Convention Center. The students were invited to experience the convention and meet with a variety of professionals and global leaders.

“One of Los Angeles’ greatest strengths is the diversity of our community,” said Darren Green, chief sales officer of Los Angeles Tourism, in a press statement. “This allows customers to address Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) initiatives, combined with executing Corporate Social Responsibility. The LACC Career Academy is an innovative option for meeting planners looking to authentically make an impact in our City of Los Angeles.”

The LACC Career Academy works with Los Angeles Unified School District to identify one high school for each citywide convention to participate. In the case of the Mobile World Congress, the school was selected because of its proximity to the convention center (2.5 miles away) and its focus on global culture. A cohort from another local high school has also recently visited the LA Auto Show and met with a number of speakers from various auto makers and other exhibitors. The LA Career Academy is working with upcoming citywide conventions that are planned for the coming year, including several medical conferences, with the goal of hosting around 10 sessions during the school year.

“We hope to expose young students from underserved areas of LA to a variety of career opportunities,” says Doane Liu, executive director, LA City Tourism Department. “Industry-leading citywide conventions offer a unique opportunity to welcome our community’s youth to explore careers they may never have considered, and allow them to envision how they fit into these worlds.”

GSMA MWC21 brought more than 4,100 attendees together at the LA Convention Center for a series of in-person events. More than 65 percent of attendees were senior level executives. In 2019, the GSMA’s MWC pre-pandemic event generated an economic impact of $43 million for Los Angeles.

“The students from Robert F Kennedy Academy were able to come in here and meet real human beings, with real jobs and real careers. Walking this floor with them, you can just see their dreams expanding,” said Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, in a press statement. “For students who grew up in Los Angeles, they sometimes don’t realize what an amazing city they live in. Sure, they know the beach is in that direction, but do they know that the Convention Center is in this direction? That the world comes here? For every student I say, put it on your list of things to do. Not just Disneyland and Universal, not just the beach, but LA’s convention center. Check out a convention, it just might save your life.”

Conventions represent a significant economic impact for LA. In 2018, citywide conventions held at LACC drew more than 400,000 attendees who booked 401,154 room nights and generated $341.7 million in direct spending.

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