Posted on March 5, 2021
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Categories: News from SDP

The Mann partners to connect high school students to the music industry workforce to help close the opportunity gap in West Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA  – Twenty-five high-school students in West Philadelphia are exploring the inner workings of the music industry and its potential for a fulfilling career path as the first cohort of the Mann Center for the Performing Arts’ newly launched Music Industry and Training Program (MITP).

MITP, which launched January at Overbrook High School in West Philadelphia, provides a three-year in-school training program to students starting in tenth grade and teaches different facets of the music industry – including music production, sound engineering, music business, stage lighting, video makeup, and more. As they progress through the program, students will be exposed to apprenticeship opportunities with companies in the field. MITP is a partnership program; lead partners include the Mann, the School District of Philadelphia, D.A.S.H. (Destined to Achieve Successful Heights), and Live Nation Urban with Overbrook High School as the program site. The program is part of a larger School District of Philadelphia effort to consolidate training programs throughout the city into one comprehensive program.

The three-year program is separated into three tiers – the first one being Exposure, Exploration, and Skills Development. In this tier, students will gain introductory knowledge of jobs and roles in the music industry through in-school, after-school and online classes. In the second tier, Facilitated Professional Experience, students will apply concepts learned in the first tier by operating school auditoriums as performing arts venues, managing school studios, etc. Finally, the third tier, Independent Industry & College Experience, will allow students to shadow employees at professional venues, receive on-site training, and present opportunities for college exploration and dual enrollment.

“We are excited to be a partner for the Music Industry and Training Program as it aligns well with our Education and Community Engagement strategic plan goal to participate in positive workforce development opportunities in West Philadelphia, including our own West Parkside neighborhood, where the need is great,” said Naomi Gonzalez, vice president of education and community engagement for the Mann. “With this direct access to the music industry and its many avenues, the goal is to further connect students to their education so that they stay in school through graduation, connect them with working professionals as mentors, and encourage them to dream big dreams by helping them see job and career paths for themselves that they may not otherwise have considered.”

With West Philadelphia holding at a 31% poverty rate—higher than the citywide 23% rate—the goal for MITP is to serve as a catalyst for change by introducing students at the high school level to the music industry workforce and placing them on a path to employment. MITP participants can also take part in the Philadelphia District Attorney’s youth diversion effort, allowing them to expunge minor criminal records through involvement in MITP.

“We are proud to be a partner with this initiative and add another opportunity for students to gain exposure and access to the arts,” said Malika Savoy-Brooks, Ed.D., Chief Academic Supports Officer for the School District of Philadelphia. “Accessing high quality arts and music education provides significant benefits to our students, especially when they are tied into post-high school plans. We are eager to offer a program like this that can help support our students’ futures.”

Over the program’s three-year course, students will also have access to soft skills workshops, as well as financial literacy and career readiness. Instructors of MITP include music industry professionals from several of the Mann’s other program partners, including Opera Philadelphia, The Recording Academy’s Philadelphia Chapter, Roland US, REC Philly, Sunset Entertainment Group, Youth of the Culture and more. MITP’s inaugural year concludes at the end of the School District of Philadelphia’s 2020-21 academic year.

More information on the Mann’s education programs can be found at