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Unleashing the Potential for Equitable Economic Opportunity

Updated: May 22

Today, LeadersUp convened stakeholders from across Los Angeles for the final event of our Equity Unleashed series - an inspiring gathering focused on expanding apprenticeship pathways to create an inclusive, anti-racist economy that empowers BIPOC young adults.


Hearing stories from our young adults as they share their vision about an equitable economy.
Jeffery T.D. Wallace, CEO & President of LeadersUp and John Roberson, Vice-president of External Relations.

The event kicked off with welcoming remarks from the Broad Foundation, followed by LeadersUp President & CEO Jeffery Wallace sharing the remarkable impact LeadersUp has had over the past decade - connecting over 60,000 BIPOC young adults to opportunities, partnering with 500+ employers and 300+ community organizations, and generating nearly $1 billion in economic impact. 


John Roberson, LeadersUp's Vice President of External Affairs, then unveiled key findings from the new Equity Unleashed Insights Report. The research highlights how the current apprenticeship landscape in California is misaligned with the state's top industries and occupations, and uplifts the voices and needs of BIPOC young adults across what LeadersUp defines as The Six Dimensions of Economic Life; Community Member, Worker, Learner, Saver, Entrepreneur, and Consumer. 


LeadersUp's Six Dimensions of Economic Life for Unleashing Equity
LeadersUp's Six Dimensions of Economic Life

Some of the eye-opening data shared includes: 

  • Only 20% of apprenticeships are in California's top industries, with a particular lack of programs in high-growth fields like tech and healthcare 

  • 7 out of 10 BIPOC young adults lack access to career mentors and are not currently enrolled in training, despite ranking "community member" and "learner" as top priorities

  • BIPOC young adults, especially women of color, face significant wage gaps that make it difficult to attain economic security and mobility  

7 out of 10 BIPOC young adults lack access to career mentors and are not currently enrolled in training, despite ranking "community member" and "learner" as top priorities.

Ben Chida, Chief Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Governor Newsom

An expert panel featuring Ben Chida, Chief Deputy Cabinet Secretary for Governor Newsom, and Michelle Quirante, Community Affairs Manager at Clark Construction Group, offered insights on advancing apprenticeships through policy and practice. Key takeaways included the need to invest in pre-apprenticeship programs with wrap-around support, partner with BIPOC-led community organizations, and infuse in-demand tech skills into training.


In his closing call-to-action, John Roberson, VP of External Affairs at LeadersUp invited attendees to collaborate with LeadersUp to co-design pre-apprenticeship programs and join the Evolve Network for continued learning and collective action. As Jeffery Wallace powerfully stated, "By uplifting the radical imagination of BIPOC young adults, we can unleash the potential to build an anti-racist economy that works for everyone."


"By uplifting the radical imagination of BIPOC young adults, we can unleash the potential to build an anti-racist economy that works for everyone."

The event made clear that realizing this bold vision will require new ways of working together across business, government, education, and community. Equipped with rigorous insights and a renewed sense of urgency and possibility, we are ready to transform California's apprenticeship landscape to expand access to opportunity and economic mobility for BIPOC young adults.


Let's get to work unleashing that potential together.




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