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Mayor de Blasio Announces Record Number of Summer Jobs in Ladders for Leaders

July 3, 2017

Pro-bono ad campaign helps secure a projected 600 employers this summer, up from 475 in 2016

NEW YORK––Mayor de Blasio and Office of Strategic Partnerships Director Gabrielle Fialkoff today announced that for the third consecutive year, New York City has placed a record number of young adults in high-quality, paid summer internships through the Ladders for Leaders program. A pro-bono ad campaign urging employers across the City to hire local talent helped secure 600 participating employers this summer, as projected, up from 475 in 2016.

"New York City is a hub for talented youth,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Through the Ladders for Leaders program, not only do we help our young people explore potential career paths, we also introduce them to the very people who may hire them one day - and the annual increase in employers shows just how mutually beneficial that is."

“The Center for Youth Employment continues to support NYC’s youth with better access to employment and job skill enrichment opportunities,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray, who serves as Chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “With more than triple the number of projected interns from when the program began, the Ladders for Leaders Program is a rapidly growing workforce pipeline for our City agencies and participating business partners.”

“Providing meaningful work experiences early on is a great way to help young people – it also helps us to grow the pipeline of future professionals right here in New York City,” said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. “I am proud of this year’s unprecedented progress in giving so many talented young people the critical skills needed to take part in the workforce through the Ladders for Leaders program.”

“Our aim with Ladders for Leaders is twofold: to put as many youths as we can on the road to success by connecting them to employers in the City’s most thriving industries and to provide employers with a strong, homegrown workforce,” said Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships. “The continued growth of this program shows that employers agree that we must work together to increase access and opportunity for all young people across the City. We look forward to finding innovative ways to do so.”

“DYCD is proud to work with the Mayor’s Fund to ensure our Ladders for Leaders participants get even more unique job opportunities to help them build the necessary skills to succeed and advance in any career path,” said Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong. “Ladders for Leaders is training our homegrown talent pool to compete and succeed in the 21st century marketplace. Helping our young people get first-hand, real world job experience with the most dynamic companies in the City will go a long way toward building the next generation of leaders who will make meaningful contributions to our global economy.”
Since 2014, Ladders has grown from 89 participating employers to  600, and from 475 interns in 2014 to over 1,600 projected for this summer. This growth has been driven by a team of dedicated staff at the Center for Youth Employment (CYE), an initiative of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC, in partnership with the City’s Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and increasing interest from local industry to support pathways to work exposure and experiences for young adults. CYE aligns employers’ summer hiring needs with the interests and skills of prospective interns.

These most recent gains are the result of a targeted multi-media advertising campaign unveiled in March, calling on New York City’s employers to hire interns. This first-of-its-kind campaign served as a call-to-action for employers across the City to hire local talent. The campaign garnered widespread interest among employers allowing the program to expand into new business sectors.   

The record gains are also the result of an ongoing sector-based approach to employer engagement and recruitment. In spring 2016, the Center for Youth Employment launched a series of “Industry Partnerships, ” targeting businesses in five key NYC sectors: real estate, fashion, media and entertainment, hospitality and travel and tourism. These partnerships brought together the public and private sectors to create meaningful pipelines into NYC’s growing industries, offering workplace exposure, experience and training for young adults. Continuing to tap into private sectors representing the strongest career pathways in New York City, this year the City is expanding the program to support pathways into two new local industries: Technology and Healthcare. Thirty-four percent of last summer’s  interns received full-time job offers, setting hundreds of students on a successful career path and providing homegrown expertise for NYC companies.

Growing the Ladders for Leaders program is a prime example of Mayor de Blasio’s commitment to increasing access to a good job for all New Yorkers and creating more opportunities for underserved communities.  The program provides a turn-key solution for companies seeking to engage with and invest in local talent, giving the youth crucial early career training and creating a strong workforce pipelines for companies looking to foster diversity and inclusion.

The NYC Center for Youth Employment, an initiative of the Mayor’s Fund, is focused on expanding and improving New York City’s programs to help youth and young adults add skills, gain work experience, build networks and explore potential career paths.

Ladders for Leaders, part of the City’s Department of Youth and Community Development Summer Youth Employment Program, is a competitive summer internship program connecting businesses of all sizes to local, high-achieving high school and college students. Applicants must have a 3.0 grade point average, undergo a rigorous review process and receive 30 hours of training prior to their internship. They are guaranteed a minimum of 25 hours of work per week in the six week program.

The print and broadcast ad campaign – the first of its kind geared toward employers – was driven by pro-bono, public-private partnerships with Discovery Communications as part of its annual “Creating Change” pro-bono initiative, Young & Rubicam (Y&R), Clear Channel Outdoor, OUTRFRONT Media, JCDecaux and iHeart Media. It featured two 30-second public service announcements and a print ad campaign. The PSAs ran across city broadcast channels (NYC Life/NYC Gov) and Taxi TV and featured alumni from Ladders. An accompanying radio spot played on iHeart Media Online, WNYE 91.6 FM and New York City’s on-hold messaging reel. Original print and digital ads appeared via LinkNYC kiosks; Clear Channel Billboards; OUTFRONT Media Digital Billboards; and in JCDecaux bus shelters across all five boroughs.

Growth in Ladders for Leaders was driven by the Center for Youth Employment (CYE), which was launched in May 2015 by Mayor de Blasio, to expand, improve and coordinate publicly funded programs that help prepare New York City’s young adults for steady work and career success.

In 2017, paid interns will be supported in part by partners of the Industry Fund, including: Astoria Energy, Citi Foundation, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), Deloitte, Discovery Communications, Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA), Hotel Association of New York City, Inc. (HANYC), Industry City, JPMorgan Chase, Lizzie and Jonathan Tisch, the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME), National Grid, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), NYC & Company Foundation, Pearson, RBC Capital Markets, the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), Rudin Management Company, Time Warner, and Tishman Speyer.

“Providing valuable professional experiences early increases the likelihood for success,” said Bill Rudin, Chairman of the Association for a Better New York. “We are proud to participate in this important initiative and feel strongly that Ladders for Leaders is a rewarding experience for both the intern and the employer.”

“Ladders for Leaders continues to be a successful program that gives young people opportunities to gain valuable, career-building experience,” said John Banks, President of the Real Estate Board of New York. “Our participating members have welcomed the opportunity to support this important initiative that also helps companies fill talent gaps and discover new potential.”

“CFDA is proud to support Ladders for Leaders.  The program is a great opportunity to employ young New Yorkers interested in fashion.  It is providing the next generation of fashion leadership with the skills and experience  needed to succeed,” said Steven Kolb, CEO and President, Council of Fashion Designers of America, Inc.

“Discovery is proud to partner with Ladders for Leaders to help provide students with the invaluable professional experience and exposure they’ll need to transform their educational interests and personal passions into career opportunities,” said Adria Alpert Romm, Chief Human Resources and Global Diversity Officer for Discovery Communications. “By supporting programs like Ladders for Leaders, we are offering these budding professionals the tools they need to succeed and simultaneously ensuring the continued growth and success of our company for years to come.”

“I began my 40+ years in the advertising industry as a summer intern, which led me to become a trainee at Y&R. I can say without hesitation that my first internship truly propelled me on my career path. Internship programs, done properly, are a tremendous way to learn by doing. In my youth, I was awed by the generosity of my mentors, who not only trusted me with responsibilities far above my experience, but also asked for and listened to my opinions too. And now it’s our turn. For more than 10 years, we have eagerly accepted interns from Ladders for Leaders. They are always bright, curious and hard-working, and I can say with conviction that we get as much out of the program as our interns do. Looking forward to July’s start date!” said David Sable, Global CEO of Y&R

“We are thrilled to have so many private partners making a real commitment to investing in our next generation of leaders. Expanding early work experience is a proven step in helping young New Yorkers prepare for the workforce – which is good for New York City communities and businesses alike. Congratulations to the Center for Youth Employment and the Department of Youth and Community Development, who have helped foster this continued growth; and thank you to the private partners who are helping us to build a diverse homegrown talent pool that will continue to strengthen our City’s economic future,” said Darren Bloch, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

“We’re proud to have doubled the number of Ladders for Leaders internship placements in the media and entertainment sectors this summer,” said Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. “Even more young New Yorkers will have the opportunity to experience our city’s vibrant media industry through meaningful summer work – developing skills, building relationships, and learning about all our city’s business community has to offer.”

“The Ladders for Leaders program helps New Yorkers build the tech skills they need to connect with the technology employers hiring for the jobs that they want, says Miguel Gamiño, New York City Chief Technology Officer. “The City is growing a tech-talent pipeline made in New York to serve New York and woven into the fabric of the growing technology industry right here in our City.”

“Travel and tourism is all about people –visitors from afar, and the local employees who help them experience the most incredible city in the world,” said Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC & Company. “Ladders for Leaders has been a powerful resource in leveraging the City’s strongest industries to develop new talent, and a valuable investment in the future of visitors’ NYC experience.”

“We are proud to proud to partner with the City to promote and invest in the Ladders for Leaders program,” said Lee H. Perlman, Executive Vice President of the Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA).  “GNYHA has a deep commitment to internship programs like this to help foster the idea of health care careers among New York City youth.  These programs are critical to grow the pipeline of the next generation of health care employees by exposing them to the many different career types offered in the health care sector.”

“Ladders for Leaders connects talented New Yorkers who are looking for opportunities to professionally develop with world-renown fashion businesses,” said James Patchett, President of NYCEDC. “NYCEDC is proud to partner with the NYC Mayor's Fund to Advance NYC, NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, and the Council of Fashion Designers of America on this incredible program. We look forward to seeing all of the amazing things that this year’s class will accomplish.”

“Internships are a uniquely effective way for young adults to try out potential career paths,” said David Fischer, Executive Director of the NYC Center for Youth Employment. “But too often, personal or family networks determine who can access these opportunities. Ladders for Leaders helps level the playing field by ensuring that any talented and motivated young New Yorker can get on the path to a great career.”
For more information on Ladders for Leaders, visit

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