Dakar Foundation is led by Kevin Clark and is supported by an LA County Arts-Tech Consortium, is pleased to submit this draft proposal for services to support the H.A.R.T. Program in achieving its goal to prepare and place youth in careers in the arts and creative industries. Our aim is to exceed what was set forth in the initial HART Concept Brief by providing a clear map of the ecosystem in and surrounding LA County Stakeholders in Silicon Beach as well as Silicon Valley (including potential sponsors and funding sources) and helping to build the skeleton of a consortium whereby these organizations and programs can work together to move students through a seamless pipeline from early education to work force 2020.
- Identify agencies and organizations involved in preparing youth for careers in the arts using inventories compiled by the H.A.R.T. as well as through our own background research on the arts and related ecosystems (including potential sponsors and funders) in LA Country (or with an interest in serving LA Country).
Conduct interviews with staff and gather supporting documents related to programming from agencies, organizations, and individuals identified above.
Collect and analyze qualitative and quantitative data from program and event evaluations, policy analyses, research reports, and academic papers (including those available from existing LA Country programs as well as similar programs outside of LA Country or the arts community), to identify the efficacy of different types of initiatives and best practices for education to workforce programming.
Write broadly accessible reports and proposals which examines the key issues related to the ecosystem in LA Country geared toward preparing youth for careers in the arts and creative industries. The report will include the following elements:
A literature review, including information on the barriers to employment in the arts and creative industries faced by youth, and how programming, services, and education have, in some case, attempted to ease those barriers.
Analysis of the efficacy of different types of programs, events, and initiatives.
- A clear mapping of which programs, organizations, and individuals exist in this space within LA County (and parties outside LAC with an interest), in what capacity, and where overlaps exist.
- Recommendations for how to build clear networks and bridges within this ecosystem for stakeholders to partner, sponsor, and provide services to provide youth with a more comprehensive pipeline of programming. Ideally, this will be the basis for developing a consortium the H.A.R.T. can run or advise in order to advance its mission.
- Assist H.A.R.T. in developing a summit in which to introduce key stakeholders and identify new ones to one another to forge this consortium and any resulting initiatives.
Dakar has a well-deserved reputation for quality qualitative and quantitative research and services related to diversity and inclusion within organizations, industries, and sectors and communities. Dakar has worked on numerous reports and has experience developing field scans and delivering resultant programming.
Our research proposal provides an approach which documents the LA County arts pipeline ecosystem, identifies overlapping interests and products between organizations and programs, provides empirically based best-practices for moving students through the education to work pipeline successfully, and offers strategic recommendations for future action based on our analysis and related report.
This work is designed to provide comprehensive, intersectional data, analysis, and recommendations on the LA County arts pipeline ecosystem which includes program targets and participants (e.g. students and early career workers), agencies, schools, NGOs, business initiatives, funders, as well as individual thought leaders/influencers.
This work distinguishes itself by providing a clear overview of the types of stakeholders involved in the ecosystem and illustrating overlaps in interests and programs among the specific organizations, agencies, and participants involved.
Our scope of work has five primary components:
(1) A literature review of the barriers to employment in the arts and creative industries faced by youth, and what programs and services have been put in place to reduce them.
(2) A series of interviews and related document reviews with organizations and programs already known to H.A.R.T. as well as those unearthed in our research with regional initiatives such as CCW.
(3) A mapping of the ecosystem as it currently exists, identifying places for organizations, agencies, and individuals to partner in the future.
(4) An analysis of the efficacy of different types of programming, services, policies, and events that exist for moving youth through the pipeline to careers in the arts and creative industries, as well as an examination of gaps and leakages.
(5) Strategic recommendations for how to build a consortium of the stakeholders identified in the mapping process.
The report begins with a review of the literature (academic and practical) and statistics regarding the barriers to employment faced by youth and the programs and services implemented to reduce them. Although the primary focus will be on youth entering the arts and creative industries, the report will include information pertaining to other industries or more broadly to the obstacles youth from marginalized backgrounds face in receiving the training necessary to enter the workforce.
Interviews and Document Review of Organizations and Programs Involved in the Ecosystem.
The study collects a series of interviews with organization representatives as well as any documents they have available on the specific programming and services provided, any evaluations that have been performed (formal or informal), and information about the demographics of the participants.
Once we have developed an initial list of programs and organizations in the ecosystem, Dakar will conduct a series of meetups with program directors and organizational leaders. Based on the details they provide, the team, including research assistants will follow-up with individuals within those organizations to collect any relevant documents related to events, programming, and services. Dakar will follow up with additional interviews if needed after reviewing the documents and initial interviews.
The interviews and document collection will capture several important dynamics:
- a) The specific programming and services available for each organization.
b) The efficacy (when evaluations are made available) of these programs and services.
c) The populations in LA County that are covered by these programs and services broken down by age, education, home, school district, and demographic groups.
- Equally important, it will identify the gaps in services and programming available to these groups at different stages and in different locations.
- 4.d) How these organizations work together or do not, to move candidates through the pipeline to work, and their willingness to do so in the future.
Mapping The Ecosystem
The interviews and document collection, as well as the initial identification of the organizations and individuals that exist in LA County, focused on the pipeline will serve as the foundation for building a map of the ecosystem. This mapping will provide a visual understanding of how different organizations, systems, and individuals function separately and in conjunction, to assist youth in moving through the pipeline. We will provide an interactive map such that H.A.R.T. will be able to click on different types of stakeholders to get a list of specific organizations (and relevant information about them) And their connections to other organizations in the ecosystem.
Analysis of the Efficacy of Programs and Services
The Dakar team will employ the data gathered through interviews and documents to provide a comprehensive analysis of the types of programs and services available in LA County and their efficacy. Although we will use evaluations from programs in LA County whenever possible, we recognize that NGOs frequently do not perform comprehensive evaluations. As such, we will supplement that data with evaluations and academic research related to similar programs elsewhere or those geared towards sectors other than the arts and creative industries. Whenever possible, we will provide best practice case studies.
Best Practices Case Studies
The best practices research is highlighted with case studies of programs and policies of the organizations sampled identify as critical to their accomplishments in moving youth through the pipeline. Case studies are particularly useful in contexts in which “a how or why question is being asked about a contemporary set of events over which the investigator has little or no control” (Yin 1994, p.9) in order to gain understanding and meaning rather than to test a certain set of variables (Merriam, 1998).
They are especially appropriate tools in the early, exploratory stages of a research topic as they allow for more flexibility (Eisenhardt 1989). In order to qualify as a best practice case study, there must be empirical evidence of success that the research team can objectively evaluate. Case studies will be built upon interviews with program staff, detailed documentation, including any evaluations which have been carried out in the past, records of participation (with identifying information redacted), and any information they have on the post-programmatic achievements or outcomes of participants.
This is in keeping with the tradition of organizational research which calls for case studies to be carried out in close collaboration with practitioners (Amabile et al 2001).
The report will conclude with recommendations for ways that organizations, agencies, and individuals can work together to reduce leaks and blocks in the pipeline. This includes providing the foundation for a consortium in LA County which H.A.R.T. could oversee. We have been working with Strong Workforce on a related project and hope to provide initial analyses at a symposium in mid-November 2018. There, we can introduce H.A.R.T. and gather interest in building a consortium.
Interviews and Document Collection with Relevant Organizations and Individuals
Work with H.A.R.T. to identify which resources are necessary for the implementation
Review research on pathways to careers in arts and creative industries (focus on marginalized groups)
Review research on barriers to careers for marginalized groups
Review best practices research on programming for marginalized youth
Review evaluations of programs in LA County and beyond
Revise report following H.A.R.T. feedback