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Annenberg Learner Celebrates Opening of South LA Teen Tech Center

Author: Annenberg Learner

Annenberg Learner joined the AnnenbergTech team to celebrate the grand opening of the Best Buy Teen Center in South LA and helped bring more than 100 students, leaders, and elected officials to the new space to commemorate the opening.

LA Mayor Eric Garcetti and LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho were on-hand to recognize the important role the new center will have for students and families in the South LA community.

“Teen tech centers like this one – due to the investment of great entities like the Annenberg Foundation and Best Buy – represent hope and opportunity for young people in our community, particularly targeting those who have historically been underserved and under-resourced,” Superintendent Carvalho said. “This is bringing the tools, the inspiration, the support in a one stop shop that builds the future one step at a time.”

LAUSD Superintendent Alberto Carvalho speaks at the grand opening of the Best Buy Teen Tech Center in South LA.

Vermont Slauson Economic Development Corporation (VSEDC), AnnenbergTech, and Best Buy worked together to make the new center a reality. VSEDC will host the new teen tech center and provide programming that allows students to explore music and vocal production, digital media, robotics, virtual reality, 3D printing, and more. VSEDC, AnnenbergTech, and Best Buy worked together for years to make the center a reality.

The new space is now open to the public, providing Van Ness communities with hands-on access to devices and other technology. 

“My father grew up a few blocks from here in South LA,” Mayor Garcetti said. “And I know he had the same feeling of too many youth of color today: ‘I can see the Hollywood sign, but is it there for me? I can see Snap down by the ocean, but can I make the next one?’ Well thanks to Cinny and Annenberg, and it has been four years since we launched PledgeLA, we’ve got all the ingredients, let’s just make the commitment.” 

Alongside AnnenbergTech, an initiative of the Annenberg Foundation, Annenberg Learner worked with five LAUSD schools to bring students to the space to preview the programming and get familiar with the software and devices that will be at their disposal.

As part of the LA Community Impact Hub, the new center is a crucial step in an ongoing effort by Best Buy, the Annenberg Foundation, and Greater LA Education Foundation to address the digital divide in the community. Recent census data estimates that 6.4% of households in Los Angeles County do not have a computer, and 13% lack access to broadband internet. These households are disproportionately located in underserved Black and Latino communities. According to the City of Los Angeles, Black and Latino households are only one-third as likely as white households to have internet access

The center is the third to open in Los Angeles with the goal of opening nine more across Los Angeles County by 2023. 

“Places like this power the next idea in tech,” Annenberg Foundation Executive Director Cinny Kennard said. “Can you imagine the next Snap, the next TikTok coming out of this building or even better yet an engineering method that makes tech more accessible?”

Check out some of the media coverage of the new space here and stay tuned for programming updates at the space for South LA students.

Students and community leaders celebrate the opening of the Teen Tech Center.

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