This summer, the de Blasio administration expanded its Ladders for Leaders program, an initiative that pairs high-achieving college and high school students with paid private-sector internships at companies including Time Warner, Deloitte, and JPMorgan Chase. This year more than 1,600 interns at about 475 companies are going through the Ladder to Leaders program, up from just 475 interns at 191 companies in 2015.
The expansion of the Ladders for Leaders program was a key recommendation in the Center for an Urban Future’s 2014 report, Bridging the Disconnect, which focused on the need to improve New York’s youth workforce development system. In that report, we said Ladders for Leaders was “a successful program through which a couple hundred youth have enjoyed meaningful, employer-paid work experiences each year. DYCD should partner with a strengthened WIB [Workforce Investment Board] to recruit more employers and create more high-quality opportunities, and the city should provide more funding to administer the program.”
We credit the city for investing more resources into a program that has a track record of success in providing young people with meaningful work experience. The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York provides a $1,000 administrative cost for each position, which includes intern salaries, and the program is overseen by a pro bono partnership between the city and organizations including Discovery Communications and Young & Rubicam, according to the New York Daily News.
CUF has long focused on youth unemployment and the need to improve the youth workforce development system. In addition to our 2014 Bridging the Disconnect report, we published an op-ed last year encouraging city leaders to pursue new types of investments in quality summer job experiences for young people. Our research has also led to an increased number of internships in the city’s creative sector.
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