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De Blasio Administration, Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City and Department for Youth & Community Development Announce Doubled Summer Internship Opportunities for City Youth in "Ladders For Leaders" Program

July 23, 2015

Private Sector Companies Answer the Mayor’s Call to Action to Support Youth Workforce by Investing More Than $2.1 Million in Paid Summer Internships

Tech Industry Steps Up This Summer to Host 190 Interns, Compared to 44 Last Year

Center for Youth Employment Surpasses First Major Goal in Supporting Youth Workforce Just Two Months After Launch

NEW YORK— Just two months after launching the Center for Youth Employment to advance workforce readiness for New York City youth, Mayor Bill de Blasio, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the Department of Youth & Community Development today announced that the City has more than doubled the number of positions available through this summer’s Ladders for Leaders program. The highly competitive program provides paid, professional internships to New York City youth between the ages of 16 to 21 who are enrolled in school.

Launched in 2006 at the urging of top business figures, Ladders for Leaders places New York City students into professional summer internships citywide. This year, the program will offer high-quality internship experiences to 1,018 participants across the city, up from 475 in 2014 – surpassing the initial goal of at least 1,000 internship positions this summer. This achievement was made possible due to a sustained call to action from the Mayor, the Mayor’s Fund, DYCD leadership, and private sector partners and the more than $2.2 million in financial support from private employers.

This year’s program is especially rich in internships available in the tech sector. Through first-time partnerships with companies like AOL and Pandora, the City has created 203 positions for students in New York City’s growing tech industry, up from just 44 slots last year. In total, Ladders for Leaders will place participants with 185 public and private employers in 16 industries, including financial services, hospitality, media, legal services, educational services, the nonprofit sector, health care, child care, government, business, construction and real estate, retail, marketing and energy.

“For many young New Yorkers, getting ahead is a matter of opportunity and access. That’s why we created the Center for Youth Employment – to leverage the resources of the City, nonprofits, and New York’s bustling business community to make a real, lasting impact on the lives of youth across the city,” said Mayor de Blasio. “Mere months since the launch of the Center, we see that through collaboration and commitment, we can open the door of opportunity for thousands of New Yorkers in all five boroughs. We’ve doubled the number of internship slots, tripled the number of private employers and privately funded internships, and quadrupled the number of positions in the city’s thriving tech sector – and this is year one.”

“When I was 14, I was a swim instructor. And I took teaching my guppies how to flutter kick very seriously. That job taught me the importance of showing up on time, treating people with respect and staying focused. My first summer jobs laid the foundation for the rest of my career,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “As Chair of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC, I’m committed to giving our young adults, including those in foster care or shelters, that same opportunity to learn the skills they need in the workplace.”

“Today, the Center for Youth Employment is showing the power of public-private partnerships to change lives and change the course of our city. With every additional internship opportunity that the private sector provides, we are not only giving a young person the tools needed to envision a future career and achieve dreams, but also helping to create a diverse, experienced workforce that can fuel our economy,” said Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor, Director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships and Vice-Chair of the Mayor’s Fund. “We look forward to continuing to work with our partners in the business and philanthropic communities, as well as our City agencies, to improve college and career readiness efforts in New York City.”

“The expansion of the Ladders for Leaders program will further enhance our efforts to connect young people to the opportunities of today and help them become the leaders of tomorrow,” said Department of Youth & Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong. “Getting first-hand, real world job experience in some of the most dynamic and diverse industries in New York City will have an incredible impact on the lives of our young people and make meaningful contributions to the city’s economy.”

“At AOL, talent is our first priority,” said Tim Armstrong, CEO of AOL. “Partnering with Ladders for Leaders and the Center for Youth Employment has allowed us to open our doors and tap into the top talent among New York City’s youth. We hope that it’s these young people that return to AOL when it’s time to look for their full time careers.”

“Our investment in cultivating the next generation of leaders is something we believe will make a positive difference,” said Kristen Robinson, Chief Human Resources Officer at Pandora. “The Ladders for Leaders program connects us with talented young professionals to whom we can provide career-defining support, development and the tools they need to pursue fulfilling careers.”

“It’s simple: When our kids succeed, we all succeed,” said Darren Bloch, the Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund. “As we push to connect 100,000 city youth to career opportunities by 2020, we call on the public and private sectors to continue working with our City to accomplish our joint goal of advancing career readiness and making a lasting impact on our future.”

“The Center for Youth Employment is very pleased to support Ladders for Leaders in helping hundreds more young New Yorkers gain invaluable work experience and take the next step toward a great career. In collaboration with our partners in both the public and private sectors, we will continue our efforts to connect youth and young adults to life-changing opportunities like these,” said David Fischer, Executive Director of the Center for Youth Employment.

Along with expanding opportunities in the tech industry, this summer’s Ladders for Leaders program will also place 93 participants in internships in the financial services sector – the top area of interest for applicants – with employers like Bank of America, Amalgamated Bank, Morgan Stanley, Blackstone, KPMG, JPMorgan Chase, Capco, Deloitte, Neuberger Berman and Guardian Life Insurance. In addition, major businesses like Macy’s, Sheraton Hotels, National Grid and Tishman Speyer will also host interns this summer. In the nonprofit sector alone, 99 students will have internships. Furthermore, 29 City agencies and elected officials as well as nine cultural institutions will serve as worksites for a total of 289 city youth.

“Tishman Speyer is proud to support the Ladders for Leaders program and to welcome a new group of exceptional interns this summer,” said Rob Speyer, co-CEO of Tishman Speyer and Chair of Board of Advisors for the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City. “The tremendous success of the Ladders for Leaders program is yet another example of the power of public-private partnerships to create an even greater New York.”

“As the premier progressive financial institution in New York City, Amalgamated Bank is honored to be a part of this historic program to provide opportunities to the next generation. Investing in our young people, opening up career pathways, and broadening the future workforce is the key to a prosperous future for all New Yorkers,” said Keith Mestrich, President and CEO of Amalgamated Bank.

The expansion of the Ladders for Leaders program follows Mayor de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray’s launch of the Center for Youth Employment in May, and their call to action to New York City’s business and philanthropic communities to help the City to meet the unprecedented demands of our youth workforce. The Center aims to increase and facilitate the engagement of private employers in the City’s career programs in order to connect more young people to summer jobs, skills-building programs, supportive mentors, and thoughtful guidance towards college and a career. The Center’s ultimate goal is to provide 100,000 young New Yorkers ages 14-24 with summer jobs, mentorships, and internships each year by 2020 – an increase of 75 percent over current capacity.

The Ladders for Leaders program provides paid, professional internships, lasting a minimum of six weeks, to New York City residents between the ages of 16 to 21 who are enrolled in school. Interested students must submit an application to one of several community-based organizations serving the five boroughs. Applications are evaluated through a competitive process based on academic performance, essay question responses and resumes. After being selected, participants receive 30 hours of pre-employment training designed to teach essential workplace readiness skills and business etiquette and ensure that they are prepared to get the most out of their experience. Employers make final selections for summer placements following applicant interviews.

For more information about the Center for Youth Employment or how to get involved at an internship site, please visit

About the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, chaired by First Lady Chirlane McCray, is a 501(c) (3) not-for-profit organization that facilitates high-impact public-private partnerships throughout New York City’s five boroughs. The Mayor’s Fund leverages individual, philanthropic, and corporate partnerships to support public programs advancing key Mayoral and agency priorities. The Mayor’s Fund is focused on supporting public programs in areas including mental health, youth workforce development, immigration and citizenship, domestic violence, financial empowerment, and support for young men and women of color. To learn more about the Mayor’s Fund, visit

About the New York City Department for Youth & Community Development

The New York City Department for Youth & Community Development supports New York City’s afterschool and youth workforce development programs throughout the five boroughs. The agency also oversees funding for anti-poverty programs. For more information, visit or follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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