Launched in 2006, Ladders for Leaders is a nationally recognized program that offers high school and college students the opportunity to participate in paid professional summer internships with leading corporations, non-profit organizations, and government agencies in New York City. The program is an initiative of the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and supported by the NYC Center for Youth Employment and the Mayor's Fund to Advance New York City.

The program is facilitated by six community partners that accept applications, and NYC Ladders for Leaders participants are selected into the program through a rigorous application, interview, and pre-employment process. Participants are required to have prior work/volunteer experience to be eligible for the program.  In 2017, a record-breaking 1,855 young adults and 583 unique employers from 17 different industry sectors participated in the program.

Up to 30 hours of advanced pre-employment training is provided to prepare youth for interviews with prospective employers.  The program typically starts the first week in July, and participants work 25-40 hours per week for a minimum of six weeks.  However, many employers have extended offers to their interns to continue on past the six weeks.  In 2017, 31 percent of participants received an offer to continue employment after the program.

Participants rate their overall experience in the program as positive (96%), with an overwhelming majority (97%) indicating they are motivated to pursue a degree as a result of participating in the program.


Source: NYC Department of Youth & Community Development

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