The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences – yes, that Academy – is reserving 10 of its coveted spots next summer in its popular, eight-week, educational and workforce training program for aspiring film and entertainment industry students enrolled in the California Community Colleges.
Now entering its fifth year, the Academy Gold summer session pairs industry professionals with student interns as they navigate their way toward full-time careers in entertainment. The Academy Gold program comprises two tracks and California community college students will have the opportunity to apply and take part in the Academy Gold Production Track, if accepted, that includes technical workshops and masterclasses focusing on cinematography, costume design, production design, film editing and sound. Students will also gain hands-on experience shooting scenes on a soundstage and spending time on active productions shadowing various departments.
Last summer’s Academy Gold Production Track included 30 students.
“The Academy is interested in expanding industry workforce diversity, the California Community Colleges is the most diverse higher education system in the country, ” said Vice Chancellor of Workforce and Economic Development Sheneui Weber. “This is a perfect example of work-based learning and the networking opportunities our students will experience that significantly increases their qualifications for employment.”
Of nearly 300 previous program participants, more than 85% have moved into positions within the industry, and 74% of them come from communities of color, 64% are women, 30% are part of the LGBTQ+ community and 6% are living with a disability, according to the Academy.
Participants this past summer included students from Los Angeles Trade-Technical College, Pasadena Community College and Santa Monica College, but more community college applicants are encouraged. The Academy and the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office launched the partnership with a Nov. 12 webinar – attended by approximately 650 students, faculty and professional staff – that included an overview from the Academy aimed at publicizing the program and answer any questions. A follow-up, December 2, application workshop drew approximately 120 participants interested in applying to the program.
“This is a great opportunity for our students, especially for those interested in film production, which is very competitive and very difficult industry to break into,” Weber said.
While the Academy Gold program this past summer for the first time took place online because of COVID-19 restrictions, the Academy is hopeful the upcoming summer program will be held in person.
The partnership is among the latest developments contributing to successfully implementing the goals set forth in the California Community Colleges’ Vision for Success, including reducing equity gaps; increasing by at least 20% the number of community college students who acquire degrees, credentials, certificates or specific skill sets that prepare them for a specific job; and increasing the percentage of exiting career education students who report being employed in their field of study.
The 2021 program runs from mid-June through mid-August and interns working for the Academy work a minimum of 20 hours per week (hours vary for interns employed by participating industry partners). Applications open in January and the application deadline closes in March. Community college students must be in good academic standing.