The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday to create a jobs program to help diversify the film and digital media industries.

Supervisor Sheila Kuehl championed the proposal.

“As we approach the 92nd annual Academy Awards this week, I am very happy to be launching this effort to expand job opportunities, not only in film, but in our entire creative economy,” Kuehl said.

The program “will help guarantee that L.A.’s film and digital media businesses remain highly competitive and reflect our diverse national and global audiences,” she said.

L.A. County accounts for 9% of film and digital media employment nationwide, generating roughly $141 billion in annual economic output and supporting 568,000 jobs, according to a 2018 report by Beacon Economics.

However, the people who fill those jobs don’t reflect the ethnic, racial and gender diversity of Los Angeles County because finding employment opportunities often relies on access to close-knit professional networks, according to Kuehl and Supervisor Mark Ridley-Thomas, who co-authored the proposal.

“The film and digital media landscape is changing at such an exponential rate that carving out pathways to careers in this area is absolutely necessary,” Ridley-Thomas said. “We are a diverse county, and developing our strongest advantage — our talent pool — will increase the range of narratives we share around the world while boosting the growing creative economy.”

The county has some industry support for the plan.

Oona King, vice president of Snap Inc. said she appreciated the county’s help in training skilled young workers.

“L.A. County is one of the most diverse places on earth, and that diversity will help film and digital industries and creative companies like Snap produce creative products relevant for audiences at home and abroad well into the future,” King said.

The career pathways program is expected to open up this summer. The plan is to offer access to immersive technical workshops, job shadowing and coaching by industry professionals. Soft skills training on developing a portfolio, resume and interviewing techniques will also be included. Paid internships or apprenticeships are expected to lead to full-time jobs.

The board also agreed to create the L.A. County Forum on Film and Digital Media, envisioned as an opportunity for industry leaders to develop innovative hiring strategies.

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