Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti recently launched the Vision Lab, a program intended to support entrepreneurs in South L.A. seeking to address the digital divide, train youth and adults in skills that may lead to jobs in the tech sector, and empower small businesses to modernize their operations.
“We’re committed to closing the digital divide in Los Angeles because everyone deserves equal opportunity to grow, thrive, and succeed,” said Garcetti in a press release. “Vision Lab harnesses the talent and creativity of our city to ensure that students have access to reliable internet, local businesses can take their businesses online, and no one is left behind in our connected world.”
The new initiative is launching with an inaugural class of 15 entrepreneurs who will participate in a 12-week program that will help them turn their ideas into successful businesses.
“Closing the digital divide in South L.A. positions youth for the next generation of tech jobs and expands opportunities for entrepreneurs and small businesses to thrive in the tech sector,” said Carolyn Hull, general manager of Los Angeles’ Economic and Workforce Development Department (EWDD). “EWDD is delighted to partner with Vision Lab L.A. in its mission to create equitable opportunities in tech for the South L.A. community.”
Garcetti’s office explained that Vision Lab is a partnership between his office, EWDD, the nonprofit Brotherhood Crusade YouthSource Center, University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) Extension, and other public and private partners. The lab is funded through Mayor Garcetti’s Fiscal year 2021-2022 Justice Budget, which allocates $17 million to digital inclusion.
“Brotherhood Crusade is honored to partner with the Mayor’s Office to bring the Vision Lab to the residents of South L.A. Angelenos that reside in South Los Angeles are visionaries, innovative, inspired and driven. They don’t lack the passion or desire to be successful, they lack access to resources and opportunities,” said Charise Henry, vice president of workforce development for Brotherhood Crusade. “Initiatives such as the Vision Lab address the deepening digital divide and open the doors and pathways of success. We are excited to see the new business ventures that are cultivated from the students in the Vision Lab.”