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Sunday, Mar 3, 2024

Kuehl Wants County to Get Creative

By MARK R. MADLER Staff Reporter With Los Angeles County the largest hub in the country for film and television production, it is not unusual that the county supervisors would target the entertainment industry to create jobs and foster trade. Supervisor Sheila Kuehl said in an interview with the Business Journal that in the past year she has wanted to take a closer look at not only the legacy businesses in the creative economy but the emerging sectors as well, particularly in the creation of content for streaming services. While the county has made strides to engage the construction trades and the culinary arts, it lacks a centralized way of working with the entertainment industry, Kuehl said. “For the creative economy, I didn’t feel we had even begun to do what we could do,” she added. Kuehl represents the Third District, which includes nearly all the east San Fernando Valley and portions of the central and west Valley. This month, she introduced a motion that was approved by the board of supervisors to implement a five-point plan to engage the creative economy and create career pathways so that the entertainment industry better reflects the diverse population of the county and the clients that it serves. Those clients would include young people coming out of foster care and juvenile justice systems, the homeless and veterans. “A lot of people that we serve, we want them to be able to get some training and have a chance at life,” Kuehl said. “Even for the homeless population, you can get them permanent supportive housing, but you can’t keep them in it unless they have a job.” In addition to creating the career pathways, the plan, developed by the county’s chief executive in conjunction with numerous county departments, would support local businesses, particularly small startups, with what they need to succeed and stay in the area; create an annual forum on film and digital media to bring industry folks together to discuss what their needs are and what they can offer each other; seek out private and public funds to support training programs; and promote legislation to help the broader creative economy. A study released last year prepared by Beacon Economics for the Otis College of Art and Design showed the economic might of the creative economy, which, for the study, included entertainment and digital media, fashion, fine and performing arts, architecture and creative goods and products. Whites made up 44 percent of the creative industry workforce with Hispanics at 33 percent. Asians made up about 15 percent of the workforce. “Given the industry’s stronghold and growth in Los Angeles County, one of the most diverse regions in the country, more must be done to ensure that the talent pipeline is reflective of the diversity of the region and the increasingly global audience,” the motion said.

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