Arts, Media and Entertainment Industry Summit

Arts, Media and Entertainment Industry Summit Addresses Skills Gap and Workforce Needs

The Oakland Workforce Investment Board (WIB), Pandora and the College and Career Readiness Office of the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) organized the Arts, Media and Entertainment Industry Summit on Thursday, February 16th. In Linked Learning fashion, the purpose of this summit was to bring educators, industry professionals, parents and students together to begin a dialogue on how Oakland Unified’s Arts, Media and Entertainment pathways align with workforce needs and how industry can help develop talent in Oakland.

Seventy-five people attended the event at Pandora’s offices in downtown Oakland and were treated to a welcome address from Joe Kennedy, the CEO of Pandora. Joe spoke about how Pandora started and why this innovative company chose Oakland for its headquarters. Afterwards, Sherry Hu, the Supervisor of ONews and a retired Channel 5 reporter, led the discussion of two different panels.

The first panel, comprised of educators from OUSD’s Arts, Media and Entertainment academies, spoke about the career-technical courses they teach in preparing students for the workplace, what they do to make classroom-learning relevant, and what they see as the most pressing needs for their students. The educators unanimously mentioned internships, or work-based learning experiences, as the most pressing need.

The second panel, comprised of industry professionals, discussed emerging trends in the Arts, Media and Entertainment sectors, the necessary skills that young people need to get jobs in their industry, and what incentivizes them to hire local talent. The industry panelists emphasized that students need to learn 21st century skills in the classroom so that they can be better prepared and succeed in the workplace. Panelists also mentioned the benefits students will gain from participating in various work-based learning opportunities such as applying the skills they’ve learned in the classroom in different settings and discovering what they truly enjoy doing.

After both panel discussions, the students met with Pandora employees and were treated to a tour of Pandora. Students got the chance to use their interview skills and learn what it’s like to work in a cutting-edge technology company. Meanwhile, the rest of the attendees undertook a thorough review of the curriculum to better understand what skills are being taught in the classroom and to provide feedback on how it can be better aligned with the needs of the workplace. This exercise was a crucial part of the program as it not only garnered specific feedback on the curriculum, but also provoked thought for work-based learning opportunities that would allow students to apply their skills in the workplace as well as learn new skills, especially 21st century skills with industry professionals.

The curriculum revealed technologies that may be transferred to the professional workplace such as Final Cut Pro, Adobe Creative Suite, Dreamweaver, iMovie, digital DSLR cameras and industry standard video camcorders. In the classroom, students have produced documentaries, short movies, commercials, and public service announcements. Upon learning this, industry professionals offered opportunities for students to use these skills with their organizations. In other words, work-based learning opportunities were created at this summit in efforts to help develop local talent. Examples of such opportunities include: website review with Oakland WIB, production skills review with Youth Radio, data organization and market research internships at Potluck Productions, and public relations projects for Give Something Back.

The summit concluded with OUSD presenting a Certificate of Recognition to Pandora for their commitment to Linked Learning in the schools. Pandora employees have partnered with teachers and students from high schools as well as elementary schools in OUSD on projects that promote community collaboration and leadership.

Please click here to view a photo gallery of the the 2012 Arts, Media, and Entertainment Industry Summit.

Written by: Jennielyn Dino Rossi
Coordinator of Workforce & Economic Development
Oakland Unified School District
College and Career Readiness Office (CCRO)