BAVC Media’s Inaugural Emerging Media Makers Program Helps Young Adults Leap into the Local Tech Workforce
BAVC Media hosted a small group of young adult media makers this past Spring for its inaugural cohort of Emerging Media Makers. The eight participants were ages 18-24, unemployed, out-of-school, and facing significant socioeconomic barriers to employment.
BAVC Media has only intermittently worked with these valuable members of our community. Funded by San Francisco’s Office of Economic and Workforce Development, this new program, Emerging Media Makers, was experimental in several ways, and in the end was profoundly instructive and impactful. We focused on what we do best: designing opportunities for hands-on, experiential learning that builds on the existing passions of our participants, building supportive learning communities for our participants through dedicated instructors and staff, and creating opportunities to apply what participants learn with employment in the broader community.
We also had a keen awareness and appreciation of the things we didn’t know how to do. Luckily, we found a wonderful community partner, New Door Ventures. New Door provided referrals to the program for half of the young participants in the inaugural EMM program, and also offered the “wrap around” support and additional case management and social services that participants needed. New Door programs specifically serve youth who are homeless, formerly adjudicated, fostered, trauma impacted, LGBTQ, and have other barriers to employment.
At BAVC Media, these EMM participants hit the ground running. They plugged into their interest in either video production or graphic design and gained critical personal and professional training and development. Participants were supported by diverse forms of staff: teachers, a client project coordinator, and a career coach. EMMers met at BAVC Media on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays for full days during the month of February. Tuesdays and Thursdays were “hard skills” days, where they learned about the industry hardware, software, and concepts related to either video production or graphic design. Wednesdays were “soft skills” days, where all EMMers met together for career readiness workshops covering the most important soft skills to tech employers in the Bay Area. On these days, they also took field trips to companies working at the intersection of tech and social good (Twitter Neighbor Nest, Design Action Collective, Open IDEO, and KQED) and heard from guest speakers representing diverse pathways to careers in design and video production. These hands on classes, workshops, and field trips kept participants focused and engaged.
In the following month EMMers were connected to a project with a local media arts and tech client in order to experience meaningful work with a major company that would be a boost to their professional network as well as a boost on their path to employment. They had two months where they met at BAVC Media on Tuesdays to work on their projects, met with their teams, went through portfolio reviews, and continued their soft skills trainings. By the end of the program in May, they all completed their client-based projects to rave reviews from those clients as well as other media arts and tech industry supporters. After their presentations, each EMMer received $1,200, an internship stipend reflecting their work with their client. Participants continue to receive career counseling for up to a year or until they find employment.
Overall, BAVC Media found that while the classes were important for gaining hard skills, the client project experience was essential to retaining these hard skills as well as building continued strength in soft skills. The results speak for themselves:
BAVC Media is excited to host the next cohort of EMMers this Fall. We will build on what we learned and continue to support the youth in our community.
If you have any questions about the Emerging Media Makers program or are interested in trying something similar, please get in touch with us!