Nonprofit from Los Angeles, California wins $100,000 award in nationwide “Big Ideas, Bright Cities Challenge”

News, Press Release

Dell Technologies and Deloitte, with the Global Business Coalition for Education, honor innovation in Los Angeles with the Challenge’s top award and celebrate 14 other organizations for creating Skills-Friendly Cities.

NEW YORK — Today the Global Business Coalition for Education announced the Southern California College Attainment Network (SoCal CAN) has been awarded $100,000 in the Big Ideas, Bright Cities Challenge, a nationwide competition to help boost youth skills across the U.S.

SoCal CAN is a nonprofit that works in partnership with the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) to provide comprehensive college and career advice to public housing residents, focused on breaking the cycle of poverty. SoCal CAN was selected from hundreds of applicants across the country.

The Big Ideas, Bright Cities Challenge honors teams of nonprofits, education organizations, and cities working with the business community to create innovative programs that help prepare young people for meaningful careers. The group also awarded grants to 14 finalists. For the next year, all 15 organizations will be part of an incubator program to share leading practices and connect with business and city leaders invested in youth skills development. The Skills Friendly Cites Network will help their ideas to grow and inspire others.

This is the second cohort of winners in the Challenge, run by the Global Business Coalition for Education, a movement of businesses committed to ending the global education crisis. The initiative is made possible by support from Dell Technologies and Deloitte.

“We’re thrilled to receive this extraordinary recognition. Our cities thrive when our young people thrive,” said Alison De Luca, executive director of Southern California College Attainment Network. “Project SOAR is nurturing the skills and talents of youth in public housing. One-on-one support ensures that their college and career dreams become a reality and breaks the poverty cycle for themselves and their families. Partnerships with colleges, businesses, and social service providers ensure no one falls through the cracks. We’re excited to continue expanding this work since nearly 2.2 million Americans live in public housing.”

“With this Challenge, we’re spotlighting groundbreaking work across the country to nurture skills in young people and help set them up for success,” said Justin van Fleet, executive director of the Global Business Coalition for Education. “This is our way of encouraging youth-serving nonprofits, companies and cities to work together, building skills for the next generation.”

The Big Ideas Bright Cities Challenge provides local nonprofit leaders the opportunity to work with some of the world’s leading companies and organizations, including businesses focused on digital transformation. This year, the challenge drew hundreds of applicants from 24 states. They had to show collaboration among nonprofits, city leaders, young people, and businesses.  Winners were selected based on 10 Standards for Creating Skills-Friendly Cities.

“A ‘skills-friendly’ city does more than just train its workforce,” said Maia Wagner, director of US giving and impact at Dell Technologies. “It cultivates an ecosystem of technology, education, and community support that sets its people up for future success. We are proud to support this holistic initiative that drives innovation at the community level.”

“As the workforce evolves, so should the way we think about supporting youth and providing access to resources and education that can match the skillset required for them to fulfill their career aspirations,” said Kwasi Mitchell, chief purpose & DEI officer at Deloitte. “We’re proud to support the Global Business Coalition for Education in its commitment to helping address the systemic barriers that can stand in the way for today’s youth and providing resources that can help create a better, more equitable future for all.”

The previous winner, Action Greensboro, in North Carolina, helps find paid internships for young people, including low-income and first-generation college students, and provides stipends for youth to work with minority- and women-owned businesses.

Learn more about the winners

This is a full list:

First-place winner:

  • Southern California College Attainment Network | Los Angeles, California


  • Achieve Twin Cities | Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • ACLAMO | Norristown, Pennsylvania
  • America Needs You | New York, NY / Los Angeles, CA
  • Café Momentum | Dallas, Texas
  • Cincinnati Youth Collaborative | Cincinnati, Ohio
  • Hopeworks ‘N Camden | Camden, New Jersey
  • The LEAH Project | Boston, Massachusetts
  • Junior Achievement of Western Massachusetts | Springfield, Massachusetts
  • Junior Achievement of Southwest New England | Hartford, Connecticut
  • Manufacturing Advocacy & Growth Network Inc. | Cleveland, Ohio
  • MyPath Mahoning Valley | Warren, Ohio
  • The Center for Teen Empowerment | Somerville, Massachusetts
  • United for College – Career Success ( UFCS Inc.) | Houston, Texas
  • Youth Job Center | Evanston, Illinois

Learn more

About the Global Business Coalition for Education: We are a movement of businesses committed to ending the global education crisis. We help companies reach their goals in ESG performance, inclusion and sustainability. We work with them to make breakthroughs on education’s toughest challenges: closing the digital divide; bridging the skills gap; expanding early childhood care; providing humanitarian relief.

About Dell Technologies: Dell Technologies (NYSE: DELL) helps organizations and individuals build their digital future and transform how they work, live and play. The company provides customers with the industry’s broadest and most innovative technology and services portfolio for the data era.

About Deloitte: Deloitte refers to one or more of Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu Limited, a UK private company limited by guarantee (“DTTL”), its network of member firms, and their related entities. DTTL and each of its member firms are legally separate and independent entities. DTTL (also referred to as “Deloitte Global”) does not provide services to clients. In the United States, Deloitte refers to one or more of the US member firms of DTTL, their related entities that operate using the “Deloitte” name in the United States and their respective affiliates. Certain services may not be available to attest clients under the rules and regulations of public accounting. Please see to learn more about our global network of member firms.