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Youth Radio launches new digital media workforce program

on July 19, 2011

Leaders from Oakland’s Youth Radio program announced on Monday that the group is launching a new digital media workforce program, which will provide young people in the Bay Area with free media skills training courses, which vary from online journalism to mobile application development.

The main difference between the new program and Youth Radio’s existing ones, which teach teenagers to produce broadcast journalism pieces and web content, will be the ages of the participants, said Jabari Gray, development manager of the group. Youth Radio currently provides similar digital media training, Gray said, but only for those between the ages of 14 and 18. “If you were 19 and wanted to take the training programs, we don’t have the capacity to serve the age group,” he said.

But with the new program underway, those from 19 to 24 can apply to study at Youth Radio. “When young people come to our door who are over 18, we don’t have to turn them away, ” said Youth Radio’s director Ellin O’Leary during the group’s announcement party on Monday evening.

The free program will admit applicants who are currently enrolled high school or college students. Participants in the new program will gain specific skills in online media production that are often required for careers in journalism as well as at small businesses and large corporations.  Youth Radio will also provide support services to help the students finish their high school or post-secondary educations.

The program’s first segment, hosting a total of 40 students, will begin next January and last six months, according to Gray. While the classroom study takes four months to complete, the students will spend two additional months doing internships at local employers including Kaiser Permanente, Pixar Animation and National Public Radio. Gray said the group is talking with Google about internship opportunities as well.

The funding for the program will come from a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Gray said, adding that the group couldn’t have secured the grant without the help from Oakland Congresswoman Barbra Lee.

“Congresswoman Barbra Lee is extremely impressed and pleased with the work Youth Radio has done for our young people,” said Ricci Graham, Lee’s Deputy District Director in Oakland on Monday. Graham said Lee’s office will continue to support and help finance the program.

For more information regarding the application process for the new program, please visit Youth Radio’s website or call them at 510-251-1101.

1 Comment

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