California Youth Leadership Corps & Conrad N. Hilton Foundation Announce $1 Million Jobs Initiative for Low-Income Youth

The partnership will create “learn and earn” career pathways at two Los Angeles area community colleges within rapidly expanding economic sectors: public health and clean energy

Today, the California Youth Leadership Corps (CYLC) and the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation announced a new partnership to develop and launch two new community college career pathway programs for youth with low incomes in Los Angeles. The $1 million initiative aims to increase access to good jobs for young people and people of color in growing sectors of the economy through the creation of “learn and earn” career pathway programs.

Under this Hilton Foundation grant, the CYLC-LA program will collaborate with selected community colleges in the Los Angeles Community College District, the Emerald Cities Collaborative, and nonprofit organizations to recruit, enroll, and train 160 young people in career pathway programs in two rapidly expanding sectors: public and community health and clean energy planning and development. These career pathway programs will provide young people with postsecondary credentials and state-subsidized internships at local nonprofit organizations, where students will earn at least $15 per hour and do meaningful community-based work. Program participants will also receive critical academic and social-emotional supports, leadership development opportunities, and mentoring to help them succeed.     

“The new CYLC initiative comes at a critical moment as the City of Los Angeles seeks to recover from the economic and public health devastation caused by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic,” said Rosa García, Executive Director of CYLC. “It is estimated that 42 percent of job losses within the low-wage sector, which disproportionately employ youth from communities of color, will be permanent. We are thrilled to be working with the Hilton Foundation to connect young people to the growing sectors of our economy, like public and community health and clean energy.” 

Through these paid, experiential learning opportunities, participants will increase their civic engagement, and expand their leadership development skills. Through pre- and post-program surveys, policymakers will gain a better understanding of issues facing youth with low incomes and communities of color — helping to create more inclusive workforce pathways in public and community health and clean energy planning and development and related fields.

The CYLC program will target the geographic locations of Downtown Los Angeles, South Los Angeles, East Los Angeles, and South East Los Angeles — areas where many young people with low incomes have faced significant barriers to education and employment, but that also have strong community-based organizations interested and well-positioned to participate in the program. The CYLC program will have a specific focus on “opportunity youth” — those between the ages of 18-25 who face barriers to postsecondary education and employment due to poverty, lack of college access and opportunity, immigration status, homelessness and other circumstances. 

“Even before the effects of the pandemic, over 145,000 of young people in Los Angeles were disconnected,” said Elizabeth Cheung, Senior Program Officer of the Opportunity Youth Initiative at Conrad N. Hilton Foundation. “We’re proud to partner with the CA Leadership Corps and the state of California to ensure that young people throughout the county receive training for two important career pathways and the leadership skills and support they need to become leaders within their own communities.”

As part of the partnership, CYLC will also document its learnings over the two-year period and share best practices with other community colleges and stakeholders across the state who may be interested in replicating the model.  CYLC program staff will also conduct trainings and host convenings for students, faculty and program staff from the participating sites over the course of the two years. 

The California Youth Leadership Corps (CYLC) is a new statewide partnership between the California Labor and Workforce Development Agency, selected California community colleges, the Community Learning Partnership, local nonprofit organizations, the California Endowment, the Hilton Foundation and other philanthropy and community partners. CYCL is preparing a new generation of young people to become community organizers and change agents in their local communities. 

International hotelier Conrad N. Hilton established the grantmaking foundation that bears his name in 1944 to help people living in poverty and experiencing disadvantage worldwide. Today, the work continues, concentrating on efforts to improve early childhood development outcomes, support older youth as they transition from foster care, ensure opportunity youth can access career pathways, prevent homelessness, identify solutions to safe water access, help integrate refugees into society and lift the work of Catholic sisters. Additionally, following selection by an independent, international jury, the Foundation annually awards the $2.5 million Conrad N. Hilton Humanitarian Prize to an organization doing extraordinary work to reduce human suffering. The Foundation is one of the world’s largest, with assets recently growing to approximately $7.5 billion. It has awarded grants to date totaling more than $2 billion, $207 million worldwide in 2020. Please visit for more information.

For more information, contact David Dodge, CLP Communications Coordinator, at