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.

Problem Statement

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.

 

Staff

David Fischer

David Fischer is the founding executive director of the NYC Center for Youth Employment, created by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2015. For 15 years before joining CYE, David worked as a researcher, strategist and administrator in New York City’s workforce development field. He served as Senior Director for Career and Technical Education (CTE) with the NYC Department of Education (DOE) from 2011 to 2014, managing a portfolio of over 400 CTE programs in virtually every sector of the economy. At DOE, he designed and implemented new program models blending education and work experience and tied new CTE program development to labor market demand. David began his career in workforce development as a researcher at the Center for an Urban Future, where he authored a series of reports, briefs and opinion pieces on subjects including demographic change in the local workforce, reforms to city job training and placement initiatives, and CTE’s potential to prepare students for high-value careers.

Leah Hebert

Leah Hebert is the Director of Intergovernmental and Program Partnerships for the NYC Center for Youth Employment. Leah has spent the last decade working in public service including higher education, union management, government, and the nonprofit sector. Most recently, Leah was the Interim Chief Program Officer and Chief Strategy Officer at Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, a city-wide nonprofit that focuses on youth workforce development and education specifically for out of work, out of school youth. Leah has a Masters in Public Administration from Baruch College School of Public and International Affairs and a Bachelors of Fine Arts from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.

Devin Corrigan

Devin Corrigan is the Business Partnerships Manager at the Center for Youth Employment, where she works to engage NYC employers in the Center’s work.  Prior to joining CYE, she worked at the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, where she supported a portfolio focused on workforce development and health initiatives.  Devin has also previously worked in nonprofit development and communications and as an Americorps VISTA.  She holds a Bachelors degree from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and an MPA from Baruch College.  Devin is a Queens native, currently living in Brooklyn. 

Nathifa Forde

Nathifa Forde is currently the Mentoring Project Manager with the Center for Youth Employment where she manages the implementation of a city-wide strategy to expand mentoring opportunities for NYC students. Before her current role, Nathifa was selected as a National Urban Fellow, a highly competitive leadership program that enabled her to attain her MPA at Baruch College. As a fellow, Nathifa was selected to work at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, MD where she utilized her extensive background as a practitioner in youth and community development towards incorporating youth voice into the grant-making process. Nathifa believes in preparing and exposing the youth to diverse workforce experiences, through which they can learn and develop a myriad of skills, ensuring that future employers will have a high-quality workforce. She continuously underscored the importance of mentoring and internships and its effect on youth development and post-secondary readiness. Nathifa has had over a decade-long career in the NYC non-for-profit sector in various roles, from a performing arts educator to a director of programs. Nathifa is dedicated to improving systems to build better futures for youth and families.

Zain Khan

Zain Khan is a Project Manager at the NYC Center for Youth Employment, where he combines his passion for youth development and increasing pathways to the workforce. In this role, he manages pilot programs and special projects oriented towards improving employment and education outcomes for young adults. Previously, Zain was a Program Manager at the Arab American Family Support Center leading their youth programs where he helped pilot a weekend art program and a counseling program for high school students focusing on peer support and skill-building activities. He also worked on providing job services to refugees and immigrant communities in Detroit before moving to New York City. Zain is a graduate of the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, from which he has a Masters degree from the International Institute and a Bachelors degree in History and Asian Studies.

Devin Corrigan is the Business Partnerships Manager at the Center for Youth Employment, where she works to engage NYC employers in the Center’s work..  Prior to joining CYE she worked at the Mayor’s Office of Economic Opportunity, where she supported a portfolio focused on workforce development and health initiatives.  Devin has also previously worked in nonprofit development and communications and as an Americorps VISTA.  She holds a BA from the University of North Carolina at Asheville and an MPA from Baruch College.  Devin is a Queens native, currently living in Brooklyn. 

David Fischer is the founding executive director of the NYC Center for Youth Employment, created by Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2015. For 15 years before joining CYE, David worked as a researcher, strategist and administrator in New York City’s workforce development field. He served as Senior Director for Career and Technical Education with the NYC Department of Education from 2011 to 2014, managing a portfolio of over 400 CTE programs in virtually every sector of the economy. At DOE, he designed and implemented new program models blending education and work experience and tied new CTE program development to labor market demand. David previously spent 12 years as a researcher at the Center for an Urban Future, where he authored a series of reports, briefs and opinion pieces on subjects including demographic change in the local workforce, reforms to city job training and placement initiatives, and CTE’s potential to prepare students for high-value careers.

Leah Hebert is the Director of Intergovernmental and Program Partnerships for the NYC Center for Youth Employment. Leah has spent the last decade working in public service including higher education, union management, government, and the nonprofit sector. Most recently Leah was the Interim Chief Program Officer and Chief Strategy Officer at Opportunities for a Better Tomorrow, a city-wide nonprofit that focuses on youth workforce development and education specifically for out of work, out of school youth. Leah has a Master’s in Public Administration from Baruch College School of Public and International Affairs and a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the Cooper Union for the Advancement of Science and Art.

Emily Apple is a Project Manager for the NYC Center for Youth Employment managing pilot programs and special projects aimed at improving employment and education outcomes for vulnerable youth. Prior to joining CYE, Emily was an Advisor at the Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity working on antipoverty programs and evaluations in the areas of workforce, youth development, education, and mental health. Emily served as a New York City Urban Fellow from 2014-15. She holds a Bachelor’s of Arts from the Macaulay Honors College at Hunter College in Political Science.

Lannia Small is the Deputy Executive Director at the NYC Center for Youth Employment. The Center is a public-private partnership that aims to connect young New Yorkers to more opportunities for career exposure, summer jobs, quality skills-building programs, supportive mentors, and thoughtful guidance towards college and a career. Prior to joining the Center, Lannia worked for many years as strategy consultant specializing in non-profit management and corporate sustainability. Some of her clients included Asia Society, Jazz at Lincoln Center, the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, Nestlé, Pfizer, and BHP Billiton. Lannia holds a bachelors in International Relations and French from Wellesley College, as well as Masters degrees in International Affairs and Business Administration from Columbia University and Sciences Po Paris.

Nathifa Forde is currently the Mentoring Project Manager with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, Center for Youth Employment where she manages the implementation of a city-wide strategy to expand mentoring opportunities for NYC students. Before her current role, Ms. Forde was selected as a National Urban Fellow, a highly competitive leadership program that enabled her to attain her MPA at Baruch College. As a fellow, Ms, Forde was selected to work at the Annie E. Casey Foundation in Baltimore, MD where she utilized her extensive background as a practitioner in youth and community development towards incorporating youth voice into the grant-making process. Ms. Forde believes in preparing and exposing the youth to diverse workforce experiences, through which they can learn and develop a myriad of skills, ensuring that future employers will have a high-quality workforce. She continuously underscored the importance of mentoring and internships and its effect on youth development and post-secondary readiness. Ms. Forde has had over a decade-long career in the NYC non-for-profit sector in various roles, from a performing arts educator to a director of programs. Nathifa is dedicated to improving systems to build better futures for youth and families.