Paths to the Future

Jan 5, 2012

It feels like America may be heading towards a system we’ve only known to exist in Europe or Asia; schools establishing programs that lead their students on the path to a particular career.

The concept here stretches beyond the directing of some students towards higher study and others towards technical schools. It’s a “pathway” system American style: a combination of an academic as well as a technical education.

Pasadena’s Light Bringer Project (a non-profit arts organization) began the L.A. Futures Academy at the end of the millennium to offer a “work-based learning program, mentorship training, team building and portfolio development” for high school students.

This has manifested into a partnership between Art Center College of Design and John Muir High School.  John Muir offers the Arts, Entertainment & Media Pathway program and this Spring those participating students will be spending lots of time at the Art Center’s south campus, attending regular classes that focus on advertising and communications. They will be exposed to thirty or forty varying disciplines and getting an inside look at how projects develop—from the initial concept all the way through to completion.

“Academy students learn the importance of teamwork, critical thinking, problem-solving and working across disciplines.”

In their second year of the program, as Seniors, they will apply their learning and acquired skills to real-world projects that will connect them to a nonprofit client in the Northwest Pasadena community. At the end of their two years, students proffer a formal presentation to their clients and mentors.

L.A. Futures Academy’s curriculum has been refined by collaborating with advertising and marketing firms, such as TBWA/Chiat/Day, the international advertising heavy-weight that can boast such clients as Apple and Nissan. John Muir students had a chance last Thursday to visit the Chiat/Day headquarters in Playa del Rey, receiving a tour of the facilities, viewing numerous creative projects and hearing from the company’s leading agents.

Other notable entities associated with the academy are Think LA, The One Club, Saatchi & Saatchi, DDB, Ignited USA, Rubin Postaer & Associates (RPA), The Phelps Group, Grey Worldwide and Muse Advertising.

Since it’s genesis, L.A. Futures Academy has engaged over 700 public high school students.

“Addressing the needs of young people at a critical age, the Academy is helping to cultivate tomorrow’s talent pool and providing the know-how and mentorship necessary for young people to advance toward their desired career goals.”

The Light Bringer Project has developed a vehicle by which high school students learn about themselves, their strengths and abilities; understand the demands of the workplace in their field of interest; and fine-tune their field of interest. They depart the program with significant amounts of practical tools, social and business connections, and (especially) more confidence in their ability to make decisions for a successful and inspired future.

Here’s to the next 700 lucky students…

Light Bringer Project & L.A. Futures Academy
99 S. Raymond Avenue
For more information, visit their website at Light Bringer Project or their Facebook page.




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