Launched in 2006, Ladders for Leaders is a nationally recognized program that offers outstanding high school and college students the opportunity to participate in paid, professional six-week summer internships with leading corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies in New York City. Administered by the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development, the program has been cited by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the Center for an Urban Future as a model program for connecting qualified youth to professional internships.

Since its launch, CYE has supported DYCD in helping to grow Ladders from 475 internships placed with 89 employers in 2014 to 1,855 interns and nearly 600 employers in 2017. CYE has recruited host employers and raised funds to subsidize internship experiences in seven priority sectors through its Industry Funds, and has facilitated networking and other professional development opportunities for Ladders participants during the program.