LB Community Foundation initiates college-to-career program to match ‘local talent to local employers’

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The same week Long Beach City College (LBCC) officials introduced a similar initiative that would link students to employers, the Long Beach Community Foundation (LBCF) also announced in a press release April 24 the establishment of a college-to-career program, entitled the “Long Beach College Promise Career Fellows Program.”

Partners– including the City of Long Beach, California State University, Long Beach (CSULB), LBCC and the Pacific Gateway Workforce Innovation Network– are piloting the program to provide “Promise Students” with employment opportunities upon graduating from CSULB or LBCC, according to officials.

“Promise Students” are defined as students who attended a Long Beach Unified School District school and have earned a trade certificate or degree at either CSULB or LBCC. As part of the pilot, approximately 110 local students will be connected with five local employers this summer and apply for employment with participating local employers through curated connections, interviews and on-going training.

Employers participating so far include SCAN, Dignity Health, Renaissance Hotel Long Beach, Sweatpants Media and Amber Resources.

“We are excited about this new college-to-career partnership,” said Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia. “It is important we keep our talent here in Long Beach, and this program will help us reach that goal by connecting our local employers to our recent grads. We are looking forward to seeing the great outcome that will result from this initiative.”

Marcelle Epley, LBCF president and CEO, said that local talent is often not retained in Long Beach, and the aforementioned program is a method to solve the issue.

“It was our goal to develop a program that would celebrate local talent by connecting graduates to jobs in their own community– benefiting both the students and the local economy,” Epley said. “Through support from the Knight Foundation Donor Advised fund held at the Community Foundation, and in partnership with the nonprofit Pacific Gateway, we are thrilled to see this program launched.”

Originating as a pilot this spring, the program is expected to open to all LBCC and CSULB Promise graduates in the fall and add more local employers.

“Only 22 percent of Long Beach residents who live in Long Beach also work in Long Beach,” said Nick Schultz, executive director of Pacific Gateway. “We believe that if we can increase that ratio, it would mean a better connection people feel to their city, more opportunities for local residents and show further support [to] the investment that the city, area foundations and philanthropists have made in students, such as mentorships, internships and scholarships.”

CSULB President Jane Close Conoley said the initiative is “the next step in providing students with education, skills and opportunities” to succeed.

“This rich, multifaceted partnership between the city, the Community Foundation, Pacific Gateway, Long Beach City College and Long Beach State University creates a pipeline of Long Beach Promise students for the local workforce,” she said. “In this way, the program not only benefits students, but also the long-term future of the entire community.”

LBCC District Superintendent-President Reagan Romali echoed Conoley’s thoughts.

“Long Beach College Promise students are so fortunate to have this new opportunity made available for them,” Romali said. “For our students who are committed to starting a successful career but might not be sure of where to go next, the Long Beach College Promise Fellowship is where alumni should look to next in order to connect with employers who are looking to hire within their specific field of study.”

For more information regarding the College Promise Fellowship Program, contact Erick Serrato, Pacific Gateway’s assistance director, at (562) 570-3762 or [email protected]