Thursday, May 24, 2012

Doing What's Good in New Media in California

Discovering Skills Requirements Regionally

The Interactive Internet and Media Applications for Business (iima4biz) Initiative has three Regional Centers that have developed employer, educational, and workforce partnerships with the local community to identify necessary skills in the new media industry, and develop training or workshops for employees that will help them develop the required skills.

The iima4biz center at L.A. Valley College, named IDEAS, has focused on the regional entertainment industry by developing a close relationship with, and workshops for, the 'below the line' craft unions and guilds associated with production. Unions represented include Local 33 Hollywood Stagehands, AFTRA, Local 800 Art Directors Guild, and Local 892 Costume Designers Guild.  Craftspeople on the panel include animators, agents, development executives, on-camera talent, and post production talent.
Advancing skill levels between productions is the only way that Los Angeles can stay competitive, as other states and countries attempt to attract the industry that has employed thousands in and around L.A. for 80 years. IDEAS is strongly supported by the LAVC Media Arts Department.

The one-year-old iima4biz Center at Hartnell College in Salinas, named the New Media Center, has tackled the needs of this 75 percent Hispanic agricultural community, by developing small business workshops and conferences on the effective use of web technologies in both English and Spanish, which is spoken by 40 percent of the adult participants. The workshops address digital literacy issues and help bring older workers up to speed. The aggressive use of student internships has furthered the Center's ability to bridge the skill gap between youth who are comfortable with technology and older workers who have never had the opportunity to fully learn it.

The iima4biz Center at North Orange County Community College District has developed workshops in response to the skills sought by local employers in web design and digital arts. Responsive programs with the Anaheim Police Department and other local businesses have helped focus the curriculum development. Optimizing resources with other EWD Initiatives, the Orange County Digital Media Center has operated one of the most successful contract education programs in the California Community College system.

Statewide, iima4biz learns from each center and identifies skill gaps from prominent research institutions like PEW Internet Research; non-profits like Tu-Technologia, who work exclusively with the Spanish language businesses; and MPICT (Mid-Pacific Information Communication Technology) focusing on the larger ICT industry. Developing effective programs that can be utilized by these centers and any other community colleges throughout California is the goal of the statewide program.

For more information on how the iima4biz initiative is addressing the new media skills needs of employers throughout the state, visit, or contact Statewide Director, Stephen Wright at (805) 496-8583 or

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