University of Southern California


Working with our neighbors to build a strong community

Hire LA Youth Program gives participants a new hope

Hire LA Youth Program participants receive their certificates of recognition. (USC/Saul Garcia)

The Hire LA Youth Program concluded its summer program and once again, kicked open the door of opportunity for all of its participants.  Many in the program are experiencing being in the work force for the very first time, while others have taken the opportunity to explore careers in the health care field.

Program participant, Jessica Barco, discovered the Hire LA Youth Program by chance, she was sitting in her classroom with no plans for the summer when a fellow student walked in and told her about the summer work program at USC.

“This is my second job, but it’s much different than my first.”  Said Barco, “I get to use my communication skills.  I also discovered how things work in a hospital, from doctors to nurses, to the cleaning staff.”

Prior to her experience with the Hire LA Youth program, Barco believed that the only path to getting a steady career in the healthcare industry was to become a doctor or a nurse.  This opportunity has exposed her to new opportunities.

“The experience of doing the summer program, helped me see the opportunities that the health care field offers.  I really like helping people and this gave me the opportunity to see that there many ways to help.”


Priscilla Marin, former participant, credits the program for the opportunities it exposed her to and the skills she learned and was able to apply to her studies and professional career.  Now a project specialist for the USC Cancer Center and a mentor for the program she says, “The opportunity to be a mentor, means it has come full circle for me, the program helped me fine tune my abilities and I was able to take those skills and apply them to my first work study job in college, and later as a professional.”

“This program gives participants exposure to the health care field.” Said Marin, “The perception is that you have to be a doctor or a nurse, but the reality is that there are other opportunities out there.”

The summer program is a collaborative project between Hire LA Youth, the City of Los Angeles and USC Local Government Relations. The goal of the program is two-fold, give young adults in high school and college real world work experience and also expose them to careers in the health care field.