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PR- 371-09
August 11, 2009


174 New York City Youth Have Completed Internships with 60 High-Profile Employers

American Airlines Awards Four Interns with Round-Trip Airfare for College Tours

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today recognized the 2009 graduates of NYC Ladders for Leaders, a professional internship program for New York City high school and college students at a reception held at Gracie Mansion. The program was completed by 174 young New Yorkers this summer.  An initiative of the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development and the Commission on Women's Issues, NYC Ladders for Leaders was launched by the Mayor in 2005 to expose New York City students to different careers and encourage them to attend college. The Mayor also announced the four winners of the American Airlines College Tour Competition, which provides select NYC Ladders for Leaders participants with round-trip airfare to visit colleges outside of New York City.  The winners, who each received two round-trip tickets, are Tavia Burwell, Arnold Chiu, Wesley Johnson and Lilmaka Robinson. Mayor Bloomberg was joined at Gracie Mansion by Commission on Women's Issues Chair Anne Sutherland Fuchs and Executive Director Briana Collins, Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Jeanne B. Mullgrav, American Airlines Managing Director of State and Community Affairs Justin Bernbach, and program graduates Wesley Johnson and Shavonne Bell.

"Our Administration is always looking for new ways to help young students reach for the stars," said Mayor Bloomberg. "With the help of dozens of private organizations, we are opening the doors of opportunity for so many young New Yorkers looking for a great head start on their futures. The skills that internship programs like Ladders for Leaders are providing the next generation of leaders with, will help us to ensure a very bright future for New York City."

"We are so proud of today's graduates, who join more than 400 high-achieving NYC Ladders for Leaders alumni," said Commissioner Mullgrav.  "We know New York City's young people have what it takes to succeed at the highest levels of the public and private sectors-all they need is the opportunity to prove themselves.  NYC Ladders for Leaders provides highly-motivated youth with the skills and confidence they need to excel in school, work and life."

"This year's class of graduates has once again proven themselves to be our City's future leaders," said Chair Anne Sutherland Fuchs.  "Our incredible partners have made a commitment to the youth of New York City, and we thank them for their constant support.  I would also like to thank American Airlines, who has created even more opportunities for our participants by offering them free airfare to visit colleges throughout the United States.  It is our hope that through the Ladders for Leaders program, youth understand that education is the pathway to a successful career, and that for them, the possibilities are endless."

"American Airlines is proud to be a part of the Ladders for Leaders program, which provides incredible support for a new generation of leaders among New York City high school students," said Jim Carter, Vice President of Eastern Sales Division for American Airlines. "The American Airlines College Tour Award will allow these impressive, over-achieving students to visit their top college choices. We also hope the visits give the students a taste of how exciting it is to go to college while inspiring them to continue to maximize their potential."

The recipients of the American Airlines College Tour Competition are:

  • Tavia Burwell, a 17-year old Queens resident entering her senior year at St. John's Preparatory School. Tavia is interning at HarperCollins and will explore the University of California - Los Angeles to enroll in a nursing program.

  • Arnold Ch iu, a 17-year-old Brooklyn resident entering his senior year at Edward R. Murrow High School. He is currently interning at Macy's and plans to visit a number of schools, including the University of California - San Francisco.

  • Wesley Johnson, a 17-year old Brooklyn resident entering his senior year at Millennium High School. He is currently interning at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and is planning on visiting his dream school, Stanford University, where he hopes to study business.

  • Lilmaka Robinson, a 17-year old Bronx resident entering her senior year at Cardinal Spellman High School. She interned at Kaplan Inc., and hopes to use her award from American Airlines to visit the University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill, among other schools.

Interns are paid by partnering companies, and private donations support partial college scholarships, free Kaplan SAT and college preparatory courses for qualified students. Throughout the summer, interns attend workshops focused on work readiness, financial literacy, college orientation, health and well-being, and leadership development.

NYC Ladders for Leaders is supported in part by African Caribbean Television; American Airlines; American Express; Aspen Institute Roundtable; Avon Foundation; Baby Buggy; Berkeley College; The Blackstone Group; Bloomberg L.P.; Bloomingdales; Brooklyn College; Brooklyn Law School; Brooklyn Navy Yard; Carver Federal Savings Bank; Catalyst; Catholic Medical Mission Board; Central Park Conservancy; Citigroup; CUNY College Now; Ernst & Young LLP; The Estée Lauder Companies, Inc.; Federal Reserve Bank of New York; The Fresh Air Fund; Friends of the High Line; Geneva Worldwide; Girls Inc.; Gotham, Inc.; Greater New York Chamber of Commerce; Grey Global Affiliates; HarperCollins Publishers; HSBC Bank USA; IBM; Interpublic Group (IPG); JPMorgan Chase; Kaplan, Inc.; KPMG International LLP; KwMoore Consulting; LittleMissMatched; Macy's; Major League Soccer; The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Microsoft; New York City Bar Association; New York City Youth Board and Workforce Investment Board Youth Council; New York Historical Society; New York Law School; New York Municipal Credit Union; NPower; Ogilvy & Mather; Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP; Patrina Foundation; RCN Business Solutions; Tai Ping Carpets; Tishman Speyer; Toys "R" Us; Wi$e Up; Women's Venture Fund; Young & Rubicam Brands; the YWCA of the City of New York, along with a number of City agencies. The Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City is responsible for administering the allocation of private funds raised for NYC Ladders for Leaders.


Stu Loeser/ Evelyn Erskine   (212) 788-2958

Ryan Dodge   (Youth & Community Development)
(212) 442-5979

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