Young Worker Leadership Academy

“This is an experience you can always go back to and that is going to help you. This is a once in a life time chance, so try it. It only benefits you in all senses and does not hurt you in any possible way.”

–Youth Team Member, 2008

The Young Worker Leadership Academy (YWLA) is our leading program in youth education. The YWLA provides a unique opportunity for young adults to become leaders and advocates for teen labor rights and workplace health and safety. Through a series of workshops, participants will learn how and why youth are injured at work, their rights on the job, and how youth can have an impact on public policy, at the local and state level.

YWLA participants

About the Academy

The Young Worker Leadership Academy is comprised of fun, interactive programs that empower youth to become leaders in their communities as workplace health and safety advocates. Participants receive workplace health and safety training, leadership experience, materials on their labor rights and protections, and knowledge about public policy issues.

The Academy is based on the premise that engaging youth will improve efforts to solve this problem because youth will bring ideas, insights, and enthusiasm that otherwise wouldn’t be present. It brings together six teams of youth ages 14-17, each with an adult sponsor, from several regions of California.

The Academy also introduces participants to service strategies including policy, education, and media. It provides a forum for youth to plan service learning projects for their schools and communities to promote positive, safe employment for youth.

YWLA students participate in community events, develop videos and Public Service Announcements, and assist in professional development workshops for teachers and other professionals so they can practice hands-on utilization of resources offered by the Young Workers Project.

More information on the Young Worker Leadership Academy can also be found at

Read the article by Solange Castro Belcher, published in the online journal, Teaching to Change LA, interviewing former LOSH employees Marianne Brown and Laurie Kominski about the Youth Project.

Goals of the Academy

  • Familiarize participants with young worker safety: causes of workplace injuries, rights of workers, and possible solutions.
  • Introduce participants to the basic elements of the policy making process.
  • Enable participants to develop collective solutions based on early knowledge of workplace safety.
  • Help participants to develop and promote a project for Safe Jobs for Youth Month.
  • Develop leadership abilities, skills, and confidence of participants.


The YWLA arose from the efforts of the California Partnership for Young Worker Health and Safety and grew from the collaborative work of the following agencies in California:


The Academy is funded by the Commission on Health and Safety and Workers’ Compensation and in part by a grant from The California Wellness Foundation.