Hollywood Diversity Must Include Jobs Not Just Awards

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Jawane Hilton. Source: Facebook

The issue of lack of diversity in Hollywood went viral last year--the discussion remained limited to actors receiving, or not, award show recognition. Celebrity publicist Darren Dickerson and Carson City Councilman Jawane Hilton are teaming up to ensure the push for more diversity in Hollywood also results in new job opportunities for youth growing up south of Pico Boulevard.

On Friday, January 20th, just days before the Motion Picture Academy of Arts & Sciences announces this year's Oscar nominees, Hilton and Dickerson will hold a press conference to announce the Hollywood To South Los Angeles Initiative and launch the #Hollywood2Carson extension of the program.

If this year's Screen Actors Guild and Golden Globe nominees are an indication of things to come the #OscarSoWhite controversy seem like old news on January 24th.  Dickerson, a 20 year entertainment industry veteran, created the Hollywood To South Los Angeles Initiative in hopes of leveraging the diversity debate to benefit Los Angeles area youth.  Hilton, who recently won reelection to the Carson City Council, joined Dickerson's effort to help ensure that the discussion around diversity in Hollywood goes beyond awards and actors and into communities of color "living in the shadow of Tinsel Town."
"Historically, minorities have benefited from efforts initally designed to empower a select group of people," says Hilton.  "It makes perfect sense to expand the #OscarSoWhite conversation to discuss how best to create new career opportunities for people of color in Carson and in our neighboring communities."

Dickerson and Hilton both agree that the goal is for Los Angeles to begin to mirror midwestern cities that develop their workforce from the local community.  The men believe the infrastructure for this type of effort already exists and are committed to laying the foundation for the future.

"If this were Detroit or Pittsburgh our youth would learn about jobs opportunities in the car and steel industries as early as middle school," says Dickerson.  "We need a similar develop program in Los Angeles for our biggest industry, Hollywood, which will produce real diversity."

The Hollywood to South Los Angeles Initiative aligns existing state and city funded workforce development programs with diversity hiring and mentoring programs in Hollywood, that are in most cases federally mandated hiring requirements.  Hilton and Dickerson believe that within four years the initiative will produce youth qualified for intern and apprenticeship programs. 

"Hollywood offers just about every career imaginable from administrative assistant to electrician, finance executive to forklift operator, food services to seamstress," says Dickerson.

"We plan to educate area youth on the wide-range of job opportunities working behind the scenes in Hollywood and develop a workforce equipped to succeed in the business of entertainment," says Hilton.

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