Up to $25 an hour for technology and finance opportunities at 59 NYC high schools

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To help prepare students for careers, New York City is launching an internship program aimed at placing 3,000 students over the next three years with companies focused on finance, technology and business, officials announced Monday.

Since taking the helm of the nation’s largest education system in January, Chancellor David Banks has repeatedly promised to strengthen apprenticeships, work experience and partnerships with major corporations. Monday’s announcement represents the first glimpse of that approach.

“Too often, schools don’t speak to students’ passions and intentions or connect the learning to the real world,” Banks said during a press conference at JPMorgan Chase headquarters in Manhattan, flanked by JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon and Accenture’s Julie Sweet.

High school students are often “on the go” with their schoolwork, but “have no idea what it means,” Banks said. “How does it relate to the real world?” This program, he said, can help solve that problem by providing “real-world skills” and giving students a “head start” as they search for college and careers.

At 59 high schools, ninth- and 10th-graders receive a “career readiness” curriculum that includes how to use Microsoft Office, build a resume and successfully complete a job interview, said Barbara Chang, executive director of CareerWise New York. It is in collaboration with the education department to run the program. Students also go on field trips to workplaces in Manhattan.

At the 59 schools, about 3,000 students — mostly rising juniors and seniors — are selected by employers for more intensive internships that last two to three years and pay $15 to $25 an hour. Education department officials said that during the regular school day, students work as coaches for 15-20 hours a week.

High school students from these schools may begin applying this spring for internships that begin next summer, education department officials said.

A few companies have agreed to hire interns, including JPMorgan, Ernst & Young, Accenture, Amazon, MasterCard, and the Brooklyn Navy Yard. Although officials hope it will provide a stepping stone to lucrative careers, students are not guaranteed a job or certification during their internship.

Chang acknowledged that some participants were more likely to attend college even if they were offered a job during their internship. She hopes programs like these will help more students get straight into the workforce.

“It’s going to take a while to untangle this whole ‘college for all’ thing that doesn’t seem to work,” Chang said.

Other large school systems, including Chicago, are doubling down on career and technical education, highlighting those programs in a three-year “blueprint” for the district. New York Mayor Eric Adams and Banks appear to be moving in that direction. Banks said the training program is just one aspect of the administration’s work-focused approach, with more details to come in the coming weeks.

Some outside observers applauded the apprenticeships, saying these opportunities were long overdue.

“It’s time for the city to invest more in youth training,” said Kevin Stump, vice president of economic activity and workforce innovation at Rockland Community College. “Internships can blur the lines and provide a more seamless transition from high school to careers,” he said.

Still, Stump said the 3,000 internships at 59 high schools over a three-year period was “a drop in the bucket” and marveled at the city’s plan to increase growth. There are over 400 public high schools with approximately 288,000 students.

Experts say it will be important to track which schools and students are ultimately selected to make sure the programs are benefiting students who have historically been denied access to more popular career paths.

“Now that they’re increasing opportunities for high-paying jobs, students who tend to get into those programs are higher-income and higher-achieving,” said Elizabeth Kim, a professor at California State. University, Monterey Bay, study career and technical programs.

City officials chose 59 schools out of 100 applicants in their final selection, using a variety of criteria, including college enrollment and poverty rates, to “ensure that resources are distributed equitably.” Officials declined to provide a list of participating schools, but said it would be available this week.

The program will be funded jointly by government and private sources. The city is donating $33 million to a variety of career-oriented programs including this one, and Bloomberg Charities is getting $8 million. (Bloomberg Philanthropies also supports Chalkbeat.) Several other private organizations are participating, including JPMorgan Chase, Accenture and Robin Hood.

An Education Department spokeswoman said the department plans to evaluate the program but has not yet finalized the specific metrics to be evaluated.

Dimon, JPMorgan’s CEO, said the program should be measured “on the outcome, not the money spent,” including how many students get jobs at companies like his or complete college programs.

“I’ve been doing this for over 30 years,” Dimon said. “We measure and report. We may fail, but not for lack of trying.

Alex Zimmerman is a Chalkbeat New York reporter covering NYC public schools. Contact Alex at azimmerman@chalkbeat.org.



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