L.A. Area Chamber's UNITE-LA Receives $100K Grant from the Aspen Institute to Help Reengage Opportunity Youth

June 27, 2013 9:00 am

LOS ANGELES, CA —The Aspen Forum for Community solutions selected Los Angeles as a founding community to participate in a new Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund focused on bringing 6.7 million youth across the country back into education and the workforce through cross-sector collaboration. UNITE-LA, in partnership with the City Community Development Department, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and L.A. County Community and Senior Services, was awarded one of only 21 community grants nationwide. UNITE-LA is an affiliate of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the backbone organization for the L.A. Compact—a collaboration between education, business, government, labor, and community leaders to improve education outcomes in Los Angeles from cradle to career.

“We are thrilled to be named one of the founding communities for the Opportunity Youth Incentive Fund,” said David Rattray, president of UNITE-LA and senior vice president of education and workforce development of the L.A. Area Chamber. “The strength of the L.A. Compact and UNITE-LA’s role as a backbone organization created the environment for Los Angeles to take the next steps and ensure our regional systems and public services work together, remain accountable and ultimately impact the lives of young people in our region.” 

In Los Angeles, there are as many as100,000 Opportunity Youth, defined as youth ages 16-24 who are disconnected from school and work. Partners in the Los Angeles Opportunity Youth Collaborative will engage a particularly vulnerable population of 1,300 transitional-age foster youth in L.A. County to improve their education and employment outcomes. 

UNITE-LA will support Los Angeles Opportunity Youth partner agencies in building upon some great work already in progress, including: greater alignment of resources by major governmental entities; the creation of 16 drop-out recovery “re-engagement” centers across the city; a recent MOU signed by all regional Workforce Investment Boards to commit employment services for transitional-age foster youth; and the development of strong cross-sector partnerships spanning education, workforce development and social services.  

The Fund (OYIF) makes a $6 million initial commitment and will award grants ranging from $100,000 to $500,000 for collaboratives that harness the power of cross-sector collaboration to make substantive progress for opportunity youth. The work will begin in cities and towns across the nation from The Hopi Reservation, Arizona to rural Maine; they include Chicago, New York, Los Angeles, Boston, New Orleans, Baltimore, and Detroit.


The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce represents the interests of business in L.A. County.  Founded in 1888, the Chamber promotes a prosperous economy and quality of life in the Los Angeles region. For more information, visit lachamber.com.


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Ani Okkasian,  213.580.7544