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About LAYC Career Academy

Students at the LAYC Career Academy leave the school fully prepared for a career and college. To graduate, students have the choice of becoming a Medical Assistant, obtaining A+ Certification in the field of Information Technology, or earning six college credits (the equivalent of two Advanced Placement classes).

Medical Assistants have average starting salaries of $30,000 per year including benefits and good opportunities for growth. The demand for these jobs is expected to grow by 35% over ten years. A+ Certified computer hardware technicians earn entry-level salaries of $35,000 or more plus benefits and great advancement opportunities.

Jobs in Information Technology, including those for A+ Certified Technicians, are amongst the fastest growing occupations in the region.

Students can also start their college education by completing six college credits (the equivalent of two AP classes) through LAYC's partnership with Bard College, Trinity Washington University, and the University of the District of Columbia Community College.

The Career Academy's program is grounded in positive youth development principles that foster skills like self-awareness, self-confidence, problem-solving skills, and resilience. The school uses an advisor-advocate model, community building, student recognition programs, and social activities to create a school environment in which students feel comfortable and valued.

Learn about Latin American Youth Center, the founding group

Latin American Youth Center (LAYC) is a multicultural youth center that has been committed to transforming the lives of young people for over 40 years. Through its network of community-based youth centers, school-based sites, and public charter schools LAYC strives to help all low-income and minority youth in the Washington DC region make a successful transition to young adulthood with the skills they need to succeed educationally, professionally, and personally.

LAYC is known for achieving excellent program outcomes; operating one of the most sophisticated outcomes measurement systems in the nonprofit sector; and, receiving local and national recognition for its work with youth, such as inclusion in the Social Innovation Fund. For more information, please visit

Board of Trustees

Precious Martin, Biography coming soon.

Elizabeth Burrell has spent her entire professional career in secondary education, specifically at the high school level. She has worked at suburban, urban, small city and rural high schools. She began her career as a high school guidance counselor which informed her commitment to provide strong academic programs to all students to ensure that, upon graduation, they were prepared for post-secondary education and meaningful careers. After ten years as a school counselor, she became an Assistant Principal at Shenendehowa High School, one of the largest suburban high schools in upstate New York. Her responsibilities included completing the master schedule for the entire school as well as supervision of the English department, Special Education, Counseling and Student Services. After ten years in this position, she resigned to move to Washington DC. She continued her work as Assistant Principal in both Howard and Montgomery Counties. In 2008, she resigned from her Assistant Principalship at Albert Einstein High School in Montgomery County and continues to remain active in education..

Emmanuel Caudillo is a special advisor to the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. In this role, he oversees the operational duties of the initiative, outreach to Hispanic Serving Institutions, and youth engagement activities, including overseeing the WHIEEH Internship program. Previously on detail to the initiative in 2012, he transitioned full-time in 2013.

From 2009 to 2013, he was a budget analyst at the U.S. Department of Education, overseeing the student aid administration account. In that role, he prepared the congressional justifications for the salaries and expenses of the Office of Federal Student Aid. In addition, he performed a full range of budgetary duties, including budget formulation, reporting, and execution. During this time, he assisted in the transition to 100 percent Direct Student Loan origination. He has also held research positions in various organizations, including Abt Associates and the National Council on Teacher Quality. From 2005 to 2006, he served as the associate director of administration and finance for the Pacific affiliate of the National Association of College and University Residence Halls. Caudillo is active in his community. He currently serves on the board of directors of the Young Education Professionals and the Virginia Junior Chamber of Commerce, and the associate boards of the Latin American Youth Center and the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Washington. Originally from Los Angeles, he holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Southern California and a Master of Public Policy from The George Washington University. His passion for education is due to the strong sense of duty and commitment his parents instilled in him.

Joshua Fairchild is a 22 year old student that is aspiring for success! He became a student at LAYC Career Academy (LAYCCA) after hearing of the great opportunities they offer. Joshua was born and raised in Washington, D.C and attended may different schools throughout his education. He has taken full advantage of his time here at LAYCCA, receiving 11 different certifications in the few months that he has been in attendance. He plans on obtaining many more certifications and is eager to going out on externship. He plans to return to school for either a degree in computer science, or to continue pursuing a major in electrical engineering. Joshua says “A huge door to my entire future has opened and it is all thanks to the programs here at LAYCCA!"

Kate Brannon is the Director of Finance at George Washington University’s Graduate School of Education and Human Development. She has served in a variety of finance positions throughout her thirteen year tenure at GW including the Director of Finance for the School of Nursing. She provides leadership and strategic direction as it relates to managing the school’s $23M budget. Her expertise includes budget development, strategic planning, forecasting, establishing internal controls and overall financial oversight of the school. Kate holds a bachelor’s degree in Accounting from Elon University and a M.B.A from George Washington University.

Lori Kaplan is the President & CEO of the Latin American Youth Center (LAYC). She has led LAYC to its national prominence as an award-winning network of youth programs in Washington DC since 1987. Under Kaplan’s direction, LAYC has helped guide thousands of low-income youth to better opportunity, while creating pioneering organizations and public charter schools. Kaplan serves on the board of DC Alliance for Youth Advocates, and Youth Radio and Youth Media International, and serves as an advisor to the Clinton Global Initiative America on the Reconnecting Youth work group. Kaplan has received numerous awards including Washingtonian of the Year in 1997, the Lewis Hine Award for her work on child labor issues, the Children’s Champion award by DC Action for Children, Community Champion Award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation, and being named one of Washington’s 50 influencers by the Washington Informer Charities.

Mala Thakur is the Executive Director of the National Youth Employment Coalition and has over fifteen years of work experience supporting urban education and workforce development for youth and adult populations. Mala led the creation of NYEC's education portfolio and has managed national and state technical assistance efforts for workforce development, school-to-work, and juvenile justice initiatives. Before joining NYEC in 1999, Mala served as Director of Workforce Development at the New York Citywide School to Work Alliance, where she provided technical assistance to School to Work partnerships and tracked federal and state legislation on education and workforce development. Prior to School to Work Alliance, Mala directed policy, research, and advocacy efforts at the National Puerto Rican Forum and also worked in dropout prevention programs in the New York City public school system.

Shelli Holland is a graduate from Bowling Green State University (BGSU) in Ohio with a major in communications and furthered her education by obtaining a Master’s of Business/Economics – Human Resources from Catholic University located in Wash., DC. While in undergrad she developed and was awarded a grant to provide college opportunities for first generation children of migrant farm-workers to BGSU. Shelli has spent the last 10 years professionally focused in Human Resources, leading business strategy support, recruiting and organizational development with positions at Marriott International, City of Alexandria, Rosetta Stone, Express Fashion (formerly part of Limited Brands), KPMG (Big 4 Consulting firm), and currently at Ellucian as a Sr. HR Business Partner.

She is actively involved as an alumna mentor to Latino/minority students at BGSU. Shelli Enjoys volunteering with her high school aged nephew in Maryland and being actively involved in the community ( dress 4 success, BESA, Mid-Ohio Food bank, SOME over the past years)

Her family is deeply rooted in the education community. Her father is a retired principal with Columbus Public Schools, her mother a retired Ohio State University Librarian/Professor, and an older sister who is a librarian with NIH. This combination has guided Shelli's passion to helping provide individuals and young adults develop their career path and recognize opportunities through education to achieve their goals.

The LAYCCA PCS is open to any resident of the District of Columbia between the ages of 16 and 24. LAYC Career Academy PCS prohibits discrimination on the basis of a student’s race, color, religion, national origin, language spoken, intellectual or athletic ability, measures of achievement or aptitude, or status as a student with special needs.