News / Press Release

L.A. Area Chamber and UNITE-LA's Annual College & Career Convention Helps Thousands of Local, Low-Income Students Plan for College & Maximize Federal and State Financial Aid

LOS ANGELES, CA — The Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, in partnership with its affiliate, UNITE-LA, provided college preparation, financial aid and scholarship training to more than 6,000 students who attended workshops at their 16th annual College & Career Convention. They also awarded $1,000 scholarships to 20 students who attended the event on Friday and Saturday at Los Angeles Trade Technical College.

“In early September, our Cash for College team was honored by the National College Access Network and the Kresge Foundation with the ‘Overcoming Barriers Award.’ This accolade recognized their work in encouraging high school seniors to submit their Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) forms. They were also recognized for their support for undocumented students. The L.A. Cash for College convention is a premier demonstration of our commitment to encouraging and empowering L.A. area students to seek funding for higher education,” noted Gary Toebben, President & CEO, L.A. Area Chamber.

The two-day convention provided local, college-bound students (whose schools have limited access to counselors and college resources due to budget constraints) with the latest information on how to maximize their financial aid for college. It featured financial aid, college and career preparation workshops, with experts from local colleges, providing an inside look at how to pay for school and giving students an edge in completing the FAFSA, California Dream Act and Chafee Grant applications.

Students also had the opportunity to learn more about the L.A. College Promise, a partnership among City of Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Chamber, UNITE LA, Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) and private philanthropy, that provides one year of free enrollment at any LACCD college to all full-time, qualifying LAUSD and charter high school students graduates.

“Every student in Los Angeles deserves the tools to make their college dreams a reality,” said Mayor Eric Garcetti. “It’s our job to help young people find the financial aid they need — and the City of Los Angeles is proud to support the L.A. Area Chamber of Commerce’s Cash for College Campaign and College & Career Convention. These events will help thousands of young people chart a course for their future.”

The Convention is part of a campaign to help students become more familiar with financial aid applications and the resources available to them. The Chamber also supports hundreds of community-based workshops walking students through filling out their FAFSA step-by-step. Cash for College is sponsored by the City of Los Angeles, Office of Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Kresge Foundation, Bank of America, the California Student Aid Commission, Ralphs, Youssef and Kamel Mawardi Fund, Los Angeles Community College District, the California State University and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles.

Cash for College is part of the Chamber’s and its affiliate, UNITE-LA’s, body of work, College Ready L.A., that ensures collaboration in assisting all L.A. area students to be prepared, be able to access and be able to complete college.


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