A Brand New Promise

June 7, 2016

In a profound testament to the hard work of an incredible community coalition helmed by Los Angeles Trade Tech College, and thanks to the leadership of Mayor Eric Garcetti, the Obama administration has designated a brand new Promise Zone in South Los Angeles. 

YPI offers our congratulations to the newly recognized South Los Angeles Transit Empowerment Zone (SLATE-Z), one of the nine new Promise Zones that will join the Los Angeles Promise Zone and 12 other communities across the United States—22 in total, only 13 urban.

The Promise Zone program was initiated in 2014 to improve access to education and employment for children and families living in disadvantaged communities. Promise Zones are at the center of the Obama administration’s investment in “place-based” strategies that recognize, as the President himself put it, that “a person’s zip code shouldn’t decide their destiny.” Now, as the only city with two Promise Zones, Los Angeles is the front line of this new War on Poverty.

The Promise Zone has no funds directly attached to it, but prioritizes federal applications from designated communities. In the Los Angeles Promise Zone, since 2014, that has resulted in millions of dollars of new investment in education, social services, financial education and employment assistance.
Funding through GEAR UP and personnel from AmeriCorps have tutored thousands of students.

Early Head Start programs have helped kids facing the challenges of poverty keep from falling behind before they even get to school.

For youth who have left school, the Performance Partnership Pilot (P3) has demolished bureaucratic roadblocks that prevented them from reconnecting to a college and career pathway.

Innovative outreach strategies like the opening of the “Ventanilla de Asesoría Financeria” in Los Angeles’ Mexican Consulate have opened financial capability to thousands of families.

To take an even closer look at the work being done in Promise Zones across the country, please seethis blog post by Cecilia Muñoz, Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council, which features the story of one of YPI’s own students, Ashley.

For the past two years, the Los Angeles Promise Zone has showed the beginning of what’s possible when we invest in children and families block by block. YPI is excited to watch these strategies spread across Los Angeles, and to share and learn with our new counterparts.

To a bright future—in every zip code!

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