The Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) and Kids Progress, Inc. (KPI) hosted its 6th Annual Scholarship Celebration at USC’s Caruso Center. Sixteen (16) graduating high school seniors from various public housing developments were awarded scholarships towards their higher education. This fall, the scholarship recipients will be attending such schools as: Wellesley College, CSU Dominguez Hills, UCLA, Cal State Long Beach, UC Irvine, Cal State LA, Glendale Community College, Cal State San Marcos, Cal State Northridge, and Cal State Fullerton.
“Tonight is about celebration and giving acknowledgement for all of your accomplishments so far and a prelude for all the great things to come. HACLA is very proud of all the scholarship recipients. I want to congratulate you and your families and wish all of you continued success in college and beyond,” said Doug Guthrie, HACLA President and CEO addressing the scholarship recipients.
“Our history with HACLA runs deep and we are committed to supporting youth in public housing who are eager to learn and to expand their opportunities for the betterment of themselves, their families and their communities,” said Jack Knott, Dean of USC Sol Price School of Public Policy. Dean Knott also serves as a Board Member of the Price Philanthropies Foundation and stressed USC’s commitment to the partnership with HACLA by making a 5-year financial commitment by the foundation to supporting scholarships for youth in public housing in an effort to promote college success and completion.
HACLA’s WorkSource Center along with Cerritos College hosted a Summer Opportunity Program the next day. Selected scholarship recipients were required to attend this event along with 50 public housing youth between the ages of 14-18, all eligible for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). HACLA honored the youth participating in the summer employment program and highlighted the benefits of their participation. In addition, students learned about career pathways, college readiness, tech industry, financial literacy and tips on navigating the Gig Economy (working while in school).
The event agenda was packed with several guest speakers and presentations. Gregorio Rojas, Chief Technology Officer and Co-Founder of Sabio LA spoke to the youth about careers in the Gig Economy (coding) that are offered by his company and the rising demand of software developers in existing tech industry. Project SOAR (Students + Opportunities + Achievements = Results) education navigators conducted their presentation on balancing college and career, applying for scholarships, submitting FAFSA application and tips on assimilating into the college life. Diana Cervantes, Director of Community Engagement, from SCE Federal Credit Union, provided helpful information about staying debt free in college, paying off student loans and the importance of saving money for college.
Students also obtained a lot of information from the Cerrito College Commercial, during which the admissions staff talked about financial aid, extended opportunities programs and services (EOPS), CalWORKS, Foster Youth Support, apprenticeships and CTE Programs. The event concluded with the College Resource Expo, where students were able to visit various tables hosted by Cerritos College and its various supportive services on campus, Goodwill Industries, and Campaign for Third Grade Reading Consortium. Students took advantage of the opportunity to network, and learn about numerous educational and career opportunities.
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