In May 2015, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City made an important advance toward a city of opportunity for all: they launched the NYC Center for Youth Employment (CYE or “the Center”), a public-private partnership to better prepare New York City’s young adults for steady work and career success. CYE serves as a catalyst, advocate, connector, capacity builder, and subject matter expert within New York City’s youth workforce ecosystem.
Launched with a collective investment of over $5.4 million from 60 supporting organizations and individuals, CYE works across the public, private, philanthropic and nonprofit sectors to deliver “more and better” youth employment. Engaging with those stakeholders, CYE identified four primary challenges within and across the array of publicly funded programs intended to help youth prepare for work and career: not enough capacity, inconsistent quality, too little information to make good investment and operational decisions, and an absence of shared goals, metrics, and infrastructure across programs.
Since its launch, CYE has supported its partners to increase the overall capacity of publicly supported workforce programs for young New Yorkers by about 75 percent: from approximately 62,000 slots across all programs in 2015 to more than 109,000 three years later. Paying particular focus to the challenges around quality and coherence, CYE has helped launch innovative and high-impact programs such as CareerCLUE (Community Understanding, Learning, and Experience), offering academic credit, career exploration and paid service learning for high school students, and CareerLift, an ambitious new initiative to support newly employed non-college young adults with job retention and advancement services that also benefits employers by reducing turnover and related costs. The Center also has worked with partners in and out of city government to connect programs and subsystems, including through the 2017 Youth Employment Task Force report.