Problem: Education Week’s Quality Counts Report ranked Nevada last in students’ opportunities for success. In east Las Vegas students have a greater chance of being a high school dropout than a college graduate.
With 45 students in a classroom, our education system is not set up to help students find their passion or have the tools to follow those passions. These inequitable opportunities lead to lack of power and leadership that reflect members in the actual community.
Solution: Leaders in Training (LIT) is a 9-year program with a vision for change that focuses on depth versus breadth. Our out-of-school time programming empowers students to find their passions, have the tools to follow these passions and the motivation to change the world. Our students love themselves, love their community and want to become the future leaders of their community. We believe first-generation students will graduate from college when they have the academic skills, character trait development and a purpose to their degree.
History: In 2008, Founder/Executive Director Erica Mosca started Teach For America in East Las Vegas by inaugurating all of her new fifth grade students as official “Leaders in Training.” As the classroom theme, students wore leader nametags, earned leader bucks and were daily reminded that an excellent education would lead to college graduation and the opportunity to become a community leader. Upon completing her two-year commitment, Mosca earned a Master’s Degree in Education Policy & Management from Harvard’s Graduate School of Education where she created a “Leaders in Training” non-profit proposal in her “Role of Policy in College Access and Success” course. Due to her shared socio-economic background of many of her former students and being a first-generation college graduate herself, Mosca returned to Las Vegas to contribute in making equitable opportunity a reality for East Las Vegas students. Leaders in Training became a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization fall 2012 and launched with 20 students in Cohort 1. The program currently serves four cohorts of 60+ students including 4 Cohort 1+ members who attend the University of Nevada, Reno, University of Nevada, Las Vegas and Nevada State College all becoming first-generation college students.