Los Angeles Makes Neighborhood Diversity Work for Its College Graduates

Yahoo Contributor Network

A Brookings Institution study shows the gap is widening between metro areas that boast a large number of college-educated residents and those that increasingly have fewer. Yahoo! News asked contributors from cities around the nation to propose solutions on how their cities can attract and keep college graduates -- and what they're doing well.

LOS ANGELES

This city, the nation's second largest, features a challenging mix of neighborhoods. The Zip Atlas notes that within the 90077 zip code -- near the University of California -- 70.81 percent of residents have a bachelor's degree or higher. In the 90001 zip code, only 2.41 percent of residents have a similar education. Can L.A. attract recent college graduates to a city with such diverse neighborhoods? Here are a few programs:

New L.A. businesses enjoy a three-year business tax holiday: L.A. enables recent college graduates to make their dreams of business ownership become a reality by exempting any new business -- started between January 2010 and December 2012 -- from paying the city's gross receipts tax for a period of three years. Los Angeles Works points out that this incentive also applies to companies relocating a business into the city, which increases the pool of likely employers looking for college graduates. In this manner, L.A. persuaded Blackline Systems Software, Gensler, Lucky Brand Jeans, and Google to set up shops within city limits.

State enterprise zones offer tax credits for employers hiring in certain zip codes: Case in point is 90012, which includes the neighborhoods around Dodger Stadium and Chinatown. With only 12.92 percent of residents holding a bachelor's degree or higher, the Community Development Department encourages the setup of hiring businesses in this locale, which keeps graduates in town.

The Los Angeles Public Library hosts weekly job-seeker assistance events: This program is one of the most useful innovations L.A. has developed. College graduates looking for jobs visit the central branch of the library on Tuesdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., where the Downtown WorkSource Center maintains a kiosk. Representatives assist job seekers with soft skills, resume evaluations, and lead sourcing.

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