Connecting an urban ecosystem

The Los Angeles, California Talent Hub is led by UNITE-LA.  Since 1998, UNITE-LA has established itself as a trusted education and business intermediary, dedicated to supporting the development of an effective local public education system, so that all children and youth succeed in college, career and beyond. Through the intersection of programming, policy and systems change efforts, UNITE-LA works to increase access to high-quality early childhood education, develop career pathways in high-growth industries, improve college access and success, and ensure workforce readiness, especially for individuals with high barriers into the workforce.

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Adam Gottlieb
Associate Director of Postsecondary Initiatives, UNITE-LA
Deborah Cours, Ph.D.
Assistant Vice President, Academic Community Partnerships – California State University, Northridge
Carrie Lemmon
Vice President for Systems Change and Strategy, UNITE-LA
Alysia Bell
President, UNITE-LA



Students Identified

In it’s first collection of data, CSUN Connections identified 548 students, over three cohorts, eligible to take part in the program based on degree credits and enrollment status.


Completers and 52 Degree Earners

127 students were identified as having earned a degree after attending both a community college and CSUN. 52 have gone through the process of claiming a degree.

Unintended Achievements

With the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, the CSUN Connections collaborative did its part to support students with deferred education goals or little knowledge about opportunities still available to them by widening the list of students eligible for campus wide benefits to those still considering a community college education.

Key Initiatives

Charting a New Path

CSUN Connections charted a new path in reverse transfer. Traditionally, reverse transfer goes one way, in which students recover credits lost in the process between transferring from a two-year to four-year institution. In the same fashion of leaving an institution without a degree, CSUN Connections identified this as an issue in the California higher ed ecosystem, but for students beginning in a four-year institution. With no existing support systems, this collaborative found that students who were academically disqualified from CSUN after their first year had no known alternative educational paths. As such, CSUN Connections was also designed to interact with these students immediately before their disqualification and afterwards, in order to help them transfer into a community college and set a plan to return to CSUN with an Associate degree.

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The L.A. Compact

Collective input, collective action, collective impact. The L.A. Compact is a bold commitment by Los Angeles leaders from education, business, government, labor, and non-profit sectors, to transform education outcomes from cradle to career, ensuring that today’s youth have the skills necessary to compete and succeed in a 21st century global workforce.

Scaling Across the Region

CSUN Connections was always designed to be a pilot in the LA region. The LA Compact, which as acted as the backbone of the initiative, works with numerous two- and four-year institutions in the region and across the state and has actively worked with the original collaborative partners to document the project processes, in order to replicate it among other campuses. Throughout the course of the CSUN Connections’ existence, the partners have shared these processes and findings with other campuses in order to support their own reverse transfer goals. In as such, UNITE-LA, CSUN, and LACCD are working to expand the partnership to other campuses and subsequently extend benefits that have been mutually agreed upon to those other causes, in effort to support more students.

K16 Collaborative

The L.A. Regional K-16 Collaborative, which includes two dozen K-16 partners and is convened by UNITE-LA, was awarded an $18.13 million California Department of General Services grant. The countywide effort aims to increase equitable degree attainment, streamlined educational pipelines, and address labor market demand to the L.A. region with a focus on health care, computing and engineering occupations.

UNITE-LA is the proud convener of the Collaborative, which will also seek opportunities to leverage or attract new resources beyond this K-16 grant opportunity to pursue additional targeted pathways in early childhood and K-12 education.


California State University - Northridge
Los Angeles Community College District
Community College
California Student Aid Commission
United Way of Greater Los Angeles
City of Los Angeles Economic & Workforce Development Department
Los Angeles Unified School District
K12 Schools