Community Youth Programs

The UCLA Community Based Learning Program had been a unit of the Center for the Advancement of Teaching since 1988.  As of 2022, the Program has moved to a new home, the Center for Community Engagement, with a new name, Community Youth Programs (CYP). However, the mission of the program remains the same, which is to assist youth, both teenagers and young adults, with the transition from youth to adulthood, utilizing the many resources of the University to assist. This includes encouraging youth to move from secondary to post-secondary education and on to meaningful careers and productive adult lives.  Initially CYP had one grant from the City of Los Angeles; CYP still has the present-day iteration of that grant but has grown considerably to include a number of other funding sources. The program works exclusively with youth and young adults and has two main areas of service: youth workforce development and after school programs.

CYP has a number of youth workforce development programs, each of which have slightly different target groups and program designs.  However, all of the programs share a common goal to increase the educational success of young people and introduce them to the world of work. The workforce development programs are funded with grants from the City and County of Los Angeles.

YouthSource Center

For up-to-date programs and opportunities, including how to apply and resources, CLICK HERE.

The purpose of this program is to provide both educational and career support to at-risk youth. CYP provides services to youth, ages 16-24, in two areas of the City of Los Angeles – West Los Angeles and Central Los Angeles, including the Pico-Union communities near downtown Los Angeles, extending into Hollywood and mid-city Los Angeles.  CYP operates two of the City’s YouthSource centers that provide a variety of programs and services for both in school and out-of-school youth.  The activities of the program are focused on low income youth and young adults who have not graduated from high school, who are not engaged in the workforce, or who are not pursuing secondary education.

The two youth centers (West LA and Central LA) house a center manager, a team of case managers, and college student program assistants. A Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) pupil services counselor is co-located at each center to help assess the needs of individual youth and to provide access to LAUSD educational services as appropriate. Services offered at both centers include the following:

  • work readiness training
  • internship opportunities
  • paid work experience
  • job placement
  • financial literacy
  • computer literacy
  • tutoring and homework assistance
  • mentoring and basic skills remediation
  • youth leadership development
  • preparation for post-secondary education

There are both federal and local measures for this program. Examples of the measures include placement in higher education or employment, attainment of a high school diploma or vocational credential, and customer satisfaction.  CYP has consistently met the required program outcomes and secured consistent funding for over  30 years.

LA Youth at Work, Student to Student, and Angeleno Corps

Because CYP operates two of the City-funded YouthSource Centers, CYP is automatically eligible to receive funding for a number of other youth workforce development initiatives.  Each of these programs has a slightly different design but all of them target young people, ages 14 to 24, and mandate a paid internship.   The number of youth involved vary each year depending on funding; we have had as many as 600 youth enrolled in just one summer from all areas of the City.  Internship sites vary greatly depending on the interest of the young person.  Approximately 100 youth work on the UCLA campus each summer. UCLA worksites include UCLA Facilities, Ronald Reagan Hospital and other medical offices, academic departments, and a wide variety of administrative offices. Off-campus worksites include City of Los Angeles departments, offices of elected officials, City & County Parks and Recreation programs, and other community-based organizations.


As part of Los Angeles City’s commitment to reduce homelessness, the City has chosen to use some of its allotted Measure H funding to provide work readiness training and transition subsidized employment to homeless youth up to age 30.  CYP was selected to provide these services in the West Los Angeles and Hollywood areas.  With this funding, CYP case managers develop internships and provide a work readiness curriculum to approximately 80 young people annually.  Supportive services such as transportation assistance and referrals to other social services are also available.  The goal is to transition the youth into unsubsidized permanent employment, further education and stable housing.  We collaborate with several agencies in this endeavor: Los Angeles LGBT Center, the Right Way Foundation and Safe Place for Youth.

CYP operates after school programs in LA Unified School District (LAUSD) schools through a contract with their Beyond the Bell (BTB) Branch. LAUSD funding comes from the California Department of Education. The purpose of the grant is to provide safe and enriching after-school experiences for students.

CYP after-school programs operate in the following schools:

  • Franklin High School in Highland Park
  • Franklin Middle School in Highland Park
  • Sotomayor Learning Center in Glassell Park
  • Jefferson High School in south Los Angeles
  • Nava College Prep in south Los Angeles
  • Hamilton High School in west Los Angeles
  • University High School in west Los Angeles
  • UCLA Community School in Koreatown (elementary school program)

A full-time site director heads each UCLA After-School program. Staff includes college students who work as tutors and program assistants, teachers, coaches and arts specialists.

Program activities are designed to meet the needs of the individual schools. Program activities must include academic support, enrichment and recreation. On-going discussions with school administrators, as well as surveys of students, faculty and families, help determine program offerings.

After-school program offerings include:

  • Tutoring and homework assistance
  • College preparation, including personal statement and application workshops
  • Theater production
  • Drumline
  • Music classes
  • Color Guard and Drill Team
  • Dance
  • Leadership
  • Sports clubs
  • Fitness training
  • Mentoring
  • Cyber security
  • College classes in partnership with community colleges
  • Activities developed specifically for English language learners
  • JK Livin’ Fitness Program, offered at Hamilton High School to introduce students to healthy living, funded by Just Keep Livin’ Foundation
Folklorico - Beyond the Bell Afterschool Program
Yoga - Beyond the Bell Afterschool Programs

CYP has many partner agencies and varying degrees of collaboration with each.  In addition to our many individual relationships, CYP is a leading agency in a new initiative.  The City Economic and Workforce Development Department (EWDD) has organized a pilot program called P3, the goal of which is to leverage resources of many agencies to provide holistic services to each youth. All of the City and County agencies have signed on to this initiative. UCLA CYP is the lead agency/facilitator for the west and central regions of Los Angeles. We meet once a month to discuss new programs available to youth, new processes for referrals and collaboration and actual case studies of youth that need services.

The group includes about 30 agencies including:

  • YouthBuild
  • LA County Office of Education
  • LA County Department of Public Social Services
  • LA County Dept. of Mental Health
  • Volunteers of America
  • California Employment Development Department
  • Safe Place for Youth
  • Venice YouthBuild
  • UCLA Guardian Scholars
  • Jewish Vocational Services
  • 1735 Family Crisis Center
  • LA LGBT Center
  • Central City Neighborhood Partners
  • Westside Children’s Center
  • SoCal Crossroads
  • Hospitality Training Academy
  • RightWay Foundation
  • Helper Foundation
  • Plus, several others who attend sporadically