Acclaimed Hollywood star George Clooney Kerry Washington, and Don Cheadle are joining hands with Los Angeles education officials to launch an academy for high school teens and train them in skills like cinematography, lighting, visual effects, and other Hollywood jobs.
The aim of this latest initiative, which is set to launch in 2022, is to train teens with industry skills from disadvantaged and minority communities and diversify the entertainment industry with well-paid jobs. The program was announced on Monday.
Clooney and fellow A-listers including Eva Longoria and Mindy Kailings will spearhead the program initially available next fall for 14 to 16-year-olds at a downtown high school, with plans to expand to other ages and pilot locations throughout Los Angeles´ public school system.
"Our aim is to better reflect the diversity of our country. That means starting early," Clooney said in a statement announcing the Roybal School of Film and Television Production.
"It means creating high school programs that teach young people about cameras, and editing and visual effects and sound and all the career opportunities that this industry has to offer."
The Roybal School of Film and Television Production will be housed within the Edward R. Roybal Learning Center in the city’s predominantly Latino Westlake district. Teachers will have access to movie industry professionals, while students will get practical training along with academic programs and internships.
The prominent producers will sit on the board and will cover about 20% of the initially expected budget of about $7 million, Los Angeles Unified School District Superintendent Austin Buetner told the New York Times.
Hollywood has sought to increase the number of people of color in front of and behind the camera since the #OscarsSoWhite scandal in 2016. Those efforts got a further boost last year when the Black Lives Matter protests fueled a wider debate about racism in American institutions.