When the Hollywood Professional Association (HPA) launched the inaugural Young Entertainment Professionals Program (YEP) in 2016, the goal was simple: attract and mentor young people in the industry by introducing them to working professionals and resources that could help advance their careers.
According to Loren Nielsen, co-founder and president of Entertainment Technology Consultants, HPA board member and charter committee member of Women in Post (which helped get the YEP program off the ground with the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers), the program has exceeded expectations.
“We wanted to look at diversifying more within the [HPA] organization, which is mostly men and skews older,” she said. “The inaugural class program was going to be just one day, and it ended up going through the whole year.”
HPA and SMPTE have announced the second class of young professionals who’ve been accepted into the YEP program, with nearly two dozen men and women, ages 21-35, who’ll receive individual mentoring, and will attend a half-dozen HPA and SMPTE events during the year. Between the approximately 40 HPA members and 250 that comprise SMPTE, the YEP inductees have already garnered roughly 70 mentors who’ll help guide their careers in the media content industry.
“We think this is an opportunity to reach out and give back, and the program has taken shape very dynamically over the past year,” Nielsen said. “We’re encouraged as a community by the quality of people who’ve applied, and they’re becoming very involved with our organization.”
In addition to the one-on-one mentoring, the 23 YEP members — a third of whom work outside of the L.A. area — will also attend technology retreats, awards events, studio tours and more. Additionally, HPA and SMPTE have expanded the YEP program to allow the 2016 class, as well as everyone who applied to the program, to join a dedicated online community, to benefit from the insights YEP members are gaining.
“The group is as broad as the industry,” said SMPTE executive director Barbara Lange. “This is a great way to add more talent on the technology side of media and entertainment, and it’s great to work with these wonderful young professionals.”
For more information about the YEP program, click here.