Skip to Main Content

The Mann connects West Philadelphia students


The Mann connects West Philadelphia students to the music industry

by Chanel Hill | Philadelphia Tribune

Twenty-five West Philadelphia high school students are exploring the inner workings of the music industry through the Mann Center for the Performing Arts’ newly launched Music Industry and Training Program (MITP). The students are a part of the first cohort of the program.

MITP, which launched in January at Overbrook High School in West Philadelphia, provides a three-year in-school training program to students starting in 10th grade and teaches different facets of the music industry — including music production, sound engineering, music business, stage lighting, video makeup and more.

As students progress through the program, they will be exposed to apprenticeship opportunities with companies in the field. MITP is a partnership program that features 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.

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.

The program is part of a larger School District of Philadelphia effort to consolidate training programs throughout the city into one comprehensive program.

“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, in a statement.

“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.”

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, and managing school studios. The third tier will include independent industry and college experience that will allow students to shadow employees at professional venues, receive on-site training, and present opportunities for college exploration and dual enrollment.

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.

“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, 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.”

For more information on the program, visit

Click here to read the full story on Philadelphia Tribune.