Design Challenge

Nurture and support diverse talent across different populations in Los Angeles, so that the next generation of promising Angelenos can put down roots and stay long-term.

GOAL: Find solutions that will enable diverse talent, across demographics and within a variety of industries, to develop satisfying careers and livelihoods that can sustain a long-term quality of life in Los Angeles. (Goal is the outcome to develop design challenge. Goal should come first).


Los Angeles is one of the youngest metropolitan areas in the country, with millions of teenagers and young people emerging into the job market and approaching their peak earning years. Without a good education, technical training or job placement, or professional networks, many of these young people - along with the economic activity, taxes, businesses and future employment they generate - may leave Los Angeles or not realize their full potential.

In the current environment it’s difficult for young Angelenos with, at minimum, a community college degree to find a well-paying job, locate affordable housing, and raise a family which results in low levels of establishing long-term roots, and building generational wealth in our region.

Pain Points

  • Unsafe neighborhoods and lack of access to transportation can have significant impacts on student outcomes. (
  •  Elementary students who miss school are more likely to struggle academically or drop out later in life. The total cost of dropouts to the state is estimated at $46 billion each year.
  •  LAUSD, the UC system, community colleges, the Trade Technical Institute, and other educational institutions are all run independently, and often compete for students or public funding.
  • LAUSD is one of the most diverse school districts in the country. There is a well-documented outcome gap for ESL students vs. native English speakers.
  •  Of the 670,000 students attending LAUSD, 74 percent of this cohort is economically disadvantaged.[1]
  •  By 2020, 40% of the workforce in the US will be independent contractors.[2]
  •  “Workers under 25 years of age have the highest under-employment rate of any labor force group – 37.9% in LA County.”[3]
  •  In 2013, the average college student will graduate with $30,000 in student loan debt.
  •  Los Angeles continues to be the largest manufacturing center in the U.S.  However, Los Angeles has lost production jobs at almost twice the national rate over the past decade and the slide continues, even as manufacturing has rebounded nationally since 2010.[4]
Key Statistics    
    LA County US


High school graduation rate:




% with associates and/or bachelor degree:




% of households who rent:




% under 25 yrs:




% public school students living in poverty:



Key Resources

School by School API Grades (

LAUSD School Reporting on school quality, demographics, graduation rates, etc (

LAUSD Public Records Request Portal (

School funding and budget information (

Proposition 30 Funding Information for K-12 Education (

Attorney General report on truancy and dropouts (

Pew Research report on profile of student borrowers 10/2014  (link)

NPR series, New Boom, a series of reports on America’s Millennial generation (link)

Key Data Sets

California Dept of Education Cohort Outcome Data

National Survey of Small Business Owners (where are businesses thriving and business owners happiest? Are there opportunities for mentorship from successful business owners in a diversity of neighborhoods? Especially where dropout rates are highest?)

Job Growth by Zipcode (do residents see opportunity in their community?)

County to County Migration flows (where are people moving? what kinds of people are moving? These data sets are completely updated but can inform assumptions)

District and Local District Profiles (This set shows suspensions and expulsions at the county level. More interesting is the Dropouts data set, which has multiple years of numbers, and is broken down by neighborhood and school. We have a real opportunity to affect these numbers)

Data Resource Guide

DataQuest (Both the Data Resource and DataQuest reports are granular to the level of individual schools and include items like Food and Nutrition, Technology, Career Education, and Physical Fitness Tests. My recommendation is to qualify any work with youth with data points from these two reports.)

Interested in finding out more about the Erosion of Talent Challenge?