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Mayor de Blasio, First Lady McCray and Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC Announce Record 1,538 Summer Internships Provided to New York High School and College Students Through Ladders for Leaders Program

Ladders for Leaders program more than doubled participating employers to 475 in 2016

Center for Youth Employment launches employer playbook to help create quality work experiences for youth

NEW YORK—Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray last night announced a record 1,538 participants in the 2016 Ladders for Leaders program, a 300 percent increase from 2014, during a reception at Gracie Mansion with business, non-profit and philanthropic leaders who participated in the Ladders for Leaders program. Ladders for Leaders is a competitive internship program for high-achieving high school and college students. This past summer, 475 employers hosted paid-interns – more than doubling the growth of employers from the previous year. This growth was driven by the Center for Youth Employment, a project of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC and the Department of Youth and Community Development. The Center for Youth Employment was launched in May 2015 to expand, improve and coordinate publicly funded programs that help prepare New York City’s young adults for steady work and career success with the goal of achieving 100,000 summer jobs, internships and mentorships per year by 2020.

In an event at Gracie Mansion Monday night, the Mayor also unveiled the Center for Youth Employment’s Employer Best Practices Playbook – a key element in fostering more internship opportunities for City youth and helping businesses build a diverse pool of local talent. The Playbook offers strategies and tools for every step of this process, from recruitment and interviewing to project planning and evaluation. The Mayor and First Lady welcomed executives from major employment sectors, including: media and entertainment, real estate, hospitality, business services and fashion industries.

“Ladders for Leaders has been a model for youth employment programs across the nation for years, providing our students with the opportunity to apply what they are taught in the classroom to the outside world. The value of this experience cannot be overstated,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “Not only do internships give students valuable work experience, they also allow students to discover their passions and interests outside of the classroom. By partnering with thriving companies that contribute to the growth of our economy and NYC’s creative output, we’re investing in the future of our workforce and inspiring students to cultivate and pursue their dreams at the same time.”

“Over the past year, we have more than doubled private sector involvement, which is a testament to the work of the team at Ladders for Leaders and to the businesses that have offered these students opportunities to grow,” said First Lady and Mayor’s Fund Board Chair Chirlane McCray.

“The Center for Youth Employment was conceived of to help level the playing field for young people in New York City. Experience paired with opportunity will allow our city’s youth to move toward rewarding careers – not just jobs. At the same time, the Center has already begun helping employers to establish a robust pipeline of diverse talent that will benefit their industries for decades to come,” said Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Office of Strategic Partnerships.

Ladders for Leaders is one of four programs that support youth workforce opportunities within the citywide Summer Youth Employment Program, managed by the Department of Youth and Community Development. The largest such program in the United States, SYEP enrolled a record 60,113 participants in 2016. Ladders for Leaders is a nationally recognized program that targets high-energy and high-achieving NYC youth and pairs them with private-sector job placements they might otherwise not have access to. Candidates are selected through a rigorous application process and receive up to 30 hours of pre-employment training, working for a minimum of 25 hours per week for six weeks over the summer.

In 2016, paid interns were supported by the CYE’s Industry Partnerships in real estate, media and entertainment, hospitality, fashion and professional services. Established in May 2016, this sector-based approach connects students to work experiences in their field of interest. These partnerships with key sectors create workplace opportunities for young people and help them take the next step toward a successful career while creating a home grown and diverse future workforce for our employers. Industry Partnerships also provide ongoing programming for students interested in specific fields, and create valuable feedback loops with employers to define the skills and experiences needed for success. Such pipelines also help employers overcome recruiting and retention challenges.

Founding Industry Partnerships supporters include: Time Warner, Hearst, Discovery Communications, Pearson, CBS Corporation, Citi Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Deloitte, RBC Capital Markets, Guardian, the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), NYC & Company, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME).

High quality internships for young people bring significant benefits both for the intern and employer. Interns gain invaluable work experience and real-world exposure to a possible career path, while host companies benefit from the intern’s energy, skills and creativity and can come to better understand their future talent needs.

“A summer job is an opportunity to help young people learn key career skills and understand how to manage their first paychecks, which can lay the groundwork for a strong financial future,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation. “We are proud to connect more New York City youth with meaningful work experiences and to support the Center for Youth Employment as they provide valuable resources for businesses to successfully offer young people jobs.”

“The real estate industry is proud to partner with the Mayor’s Fund in providing New York City’s public high school students with rewarding work experiences and introducing them to a range of exciting career opportunities,” said Tishman Speyer President and CEO Rob Speyer, who also serves as Chair of both the Board of Advisors for the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the Real Estate Board of New York. “Tishman Speyer has been a long-time supporter of the City’s internship initiatives, and we are already looking forward to hosting another group of outstanding young adults next summer.”

“As a former SYEP participant, I’m living proof of the power of a first job, which exposed me to the world of public service, and in no small measure was a big step in my journey to becoming a commissioner,” said Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong. “By connecting youth to a range of exciting job opportunities we are helping them build the necessary skills to succeed and advance in any career path. DYCD is proud to work with the Mayor’s Fund to ensure our young people are getting first-hand, real world job experience with the most dynamic companies in the city as they prepare to become our next generation of influencers.”

“We thank all of our industry partners for providing young New Yorkers with meaningful learning experiences and exposure to what is possible in their future careers,” said Media and Entertainment Commissioner Julie Menin. “The thriving media and entertainment sectors offer unparalleled opportunities. MOME is committed to ensuring these industries reflect the diversity of our city, and to opening doors for young New Yorkers from all backgrounds to real-world experience and key connections that will surely enhance their future employment prospects.”

“The launch of the Center and this work is borne out of the substantial evidence pointing to the transformational role that work exposure and experience can play in a young person’s life. We also look to expand the opportunity and responsibility that government and the private sector has in partnering to foster a more robust pipeline of local, diverse talent that will benefit New York City families, communities and industries for decades to come,” said Darren Bloch, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

“New York City’s young people have the talent, drive, and ingenuity to contribute to our 21st century economy – but too many lack the access, resources, and experience to break into their fields of choice,” said NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer. “Ladders for Leaders bridges that gap by creating a pipeline of opportunity between our students and industry leaders; the program not only provides invaluable mentorship and experiences, but also allows private-sector employers to better tap into the diversity that makes our city so exceptional. This year, over 1,500 young people and nearly 500 employers took part in the program, and we look forward to even greater participation in the years ahead.”

“The Real Estate Board of New York recognizes how critically important internship experiences can be in furthering the professional development of students entering the workforce,” said John H. Banks, III, President of the Real Estate Board of New York. “Our members support this initiative and appreciate the opportunity to support the next generation of industry leaders.”

“Our work at the Center for Youth Employment is grounded in the idea that all young New Yorkers should have access to opportunities to gain work experience, build skills, explore possible career pathways, and go as far as their abilities and ambitions can take them,” said David Fischer, Executive Director of the NYC Center for Youth Employment. “The growth and success of Ladders for Leaders shows what we can accomplish when government, industry and philanthropy work together toward a shared goal.”

“Tourism and hospitality is one of New York City’s strongest, most resilient industries, making good jobs available in all five boroughs. Today, the local tourism and hospitality sector employs more than 375,000 people. We look forward to partnering with the Center for Youth Employment to help talented students gain a foothold in this thriving industry,” said Fred Dixon, President and CEO of NYC & Company.

“We are very pleased to continue supporting Ladders for Leaders for the second year,” said Steven Kolb, President and CEO of the CFDA. “Internships can provide the starting point to a successful career in fashion. CFDA’s partnership with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the New York City Economic Development Corporation will give high school students and college undergraduates the opportunity to become fashion leaders of the future.”

“An impactful way to create more jobs for our youth and to build the workforce of the future is to put more societal effort behind it. The Ladders for Leaders internship program and Center for Youth Employment create the public-private partnerships between employers, educational institutions, government and non-profits necessary to help young people gain the experiences and skills necessary to match companies’ actual job needs. Guardian is a proud supporter of this effort and looks forward to our continued collaboration,” said Deanna Mulligan, President and CEO of Guardian.

“Deloitte strongly believes in preparing today’s students to be tomorrow’s leaders in the community and the workplace. Through supporting initiatives like this, we are able to connect with talented young people and help build a skilled, diverse workforce of the future,” said Steve Gallucci, New York Tri-State Managing Partner of Deloitte LLP.

“We know that the best way to prepare and equip our young people for tomorrow’s workplace is to expose them to rewarding experiences today,” said Bill Rudin, Vice Chair and CEO of Rudin Management Company and Chairman of the Association for a Better New York.  “We couldn’t have been more pleased with the bright, talented, and enthusiastic students that worked with us at the Rudin Management Company this summer, and we applaud the Mayor and First Lady’s vision and success with the Ladders for Leaders program.”

“Ladders for Leaders and CYE are helping organizations like Discovery Communications to find our future generation of leaders, while helping those students turn their interests and passions into opportunities,” said Adria Alpert Romm, Chief Human Resources and Global Diversity Officer for Discovery Communications. “We are proud to participate and offer students interested in pursuing the entertainment and media industry the needed exposure and experience to develop their careers.”

State Senator Jose Peralta said, “A competitive first summer job is vital to ensure that students receive the experience and preparation they need to succeed in their particular careers of choice. Youth employment can open key professional doors, and, at the same time, it allows students to make money during the summer months. I want to thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady of New York City Chirlane McCray for their efforts to increase the number of participants in the Ladders for Leaders program.”

State Senator Jesse Hamilton said, “Some of the most dynamic companies in the world call New York home. Ladders for Leaders leverages that advantage – exposing young people to an array of career pathways, helping develop skills, and preparing our youth for the careers of tomorrow. Speaking from firsthand experience as a Ladders for Leaders site, I know participants bring their energy, their talents, and their insights each day. I celebrate the success of Ladders for Leaders in 2016 and the broader success of the Center for Youth Employment as we move towards the goal of 100,000 summer jobs, internships, and mentorships annually by 2020. Thanks to leadership by Mayor de Blasio, the Department of Youth and Community Development, and many workplace partners across our city, we can build a New York where many more young people have a firm foundation for future career success.”

“My first job ever was through the Summer Youth Employment Program, and I am thankful for the experience, career guidance and workforce development skills I received because of this rewarding program,” said Assembly Member Latoya Joyner. “Giving more and more youth access to these programs, allowing them to grow and mature in the real world will award them the tools needed to succeed later in life – whether that be continuing education or in the workplace. SYEP and the Ladders for Leaders program’s growth are indicative of the benefits for employers in having high-achieving high school and college students in the workplace – my Bronx community office is one of these prime locations. I thank Mayor Bill de Blasio, Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong and the Center for Youth Employment for their vision and drive towards expanding youth employment efforts in the Bronx and New York City.”

“As the Chair of the Youth Services Committee, I am very proud of the work being done through The Ladders for Leaders program. It is a tremendous example of the positive results that occur when the government and private sector work together to provide our students with career guidance, and most importantly, optimism for the future. It has been proven that when formal education is paired with on-the-job training, our students are rewarded with the keys for success that last a lifetime. We must continue to support initiatives such as these and provide the city’s youth with opportunities for advancement in the workforce,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene.

“Last year the City Council made investments in our youth the number one priority in the budget, and I am happy that we found a real partner in the de Blasio Administration. Ladders for Leaders is a way to connect our young people with all the opportunities our city holds, and I’m pleased to see the substantial growth in the program. Congratulations, especially to all the private sector partners, and I look forward to even more successful internships in the future,” said Council Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland.

“We all know the importance of the tremendous benefits a first job or internship has on our youth. Adolescents learn essential skills in a structured professional environment and focus on working toward their educational and career interests. The more teens and young adults that are employed, the more we’ll see our communities transformed. I applaud Mayor Bill de Blasio and First Lady Chirlane McCray for their commitment to providing more youth an opportunity at advancement,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams.

“Ladders for Leaders and SYEP provide our young people with an unparalleled opportunity to gain valuable, real world employment experience. I applaud the Center for Youth Employment for their work to expand employment opportunities and thank Mayor de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray, and Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong for their steadfast commitment to our children’s success,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson.

“In order to help the next generation of workers survive and thrive in a 21st century economy, we need to create more opportunities for young people to pursue careers in the fast-growing industries of tomorrow,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “Ladders for Leaders gives young people the experience and the confidence to compete in an increasingly competitive global economy, and will continue to have a huge impact on the next generation of leaders. I thank Mayor de Blasio, DYCD Commissioner Chong, the Mayor’s fund, and numerous private-sector employers for uniting to secure a better future for young people across our City.”

“Internships and summer employment are important for youth to gain the skills and experiences they need to help increase the chances for full-time jobs. It’s incredible to see that thousands more already benefitted from summer youth jobs compared to years past. The Council increased its investment in SYEP for FY17, and we are confident that even more youth will be able to benefit from the program in years to come,” said Council Member Ritchie Torres.

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