Borough of Manhattan Community College, The City University of New York (BMCC/CUNY) is the first CUNY college to partner with Year Up, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to closing the opportunity divide for young adults ages 18 to 24. Founded in Boston in 2000 and now located in 14 cities across the U.S., Year Up provides young adults with in-demand technical and professional skills training followed by professional internships at Fortune 500 firms.
“We are thrilled to launch our partnership with Year Up to provide unique opportunities for our students to grow academically, professionally and personally,” said BMCC Senior Vice President and Provost Karrin Wilks. “Our goal is to substantially expand this program as a key strategy for improving student success.”
BMCC’s first Year Up cohort of 40 students, comprised of business management and accounting majors, has already finished a week of orientation, acquainting them with the program and preparing them for the intense year ahead. The students showed up in professional attire, took part in community building activities and kicked off their career development training.
Business management major Genesis Hernandez is excited about the opportunity. “They’re teaching us how to dress the part, and other steps we need to be where we want to be professionally,” says Hernandez, who grew up in the Bronx and has a goal to work in music management. “I want to work in all types of genres and start my own label one day, so I want to learn how to deal with budgets and contracts.”
Her Year Up classmate Chazwani Wright is also majoring in business management and was impressed with his first week in the program. “The interactive activities helped us get comfortable with each other,” he said. “I think being in Year Up will help me acquire professional skills applicable in a variety of fields. I want to work in sales; specifically, retail. My first retail experience was at Macy’s.”
A pathway to higher education and careers
“We’re honored to partner with BMCC to ensure more young adults have access to higher education that is directly linked to a professional career,” said Gerald Chertavian, Year Up Founder and CEO. “Year Up BMCC will provide students with a pathway to a college degree and meaningful employment, while also building a pipeline of skilled, motivated talent for New York employers.”
“We started recruiting students last summer, for a Spring 2016 start date,” says Alisa Seewald, Year Up Site Director at BMCC. “The new cohort will first complete six months of training to develop the technical, professional and communication skills employers look for in entry-level hires. They will also develop the soft skills it takes to succeed in corporate America, such as networking and being able to give and receive feedback.”
The schedule for Year Up students will include a combination of BMCC classes and programmatic activities led by Year Up staff, including an additional Year Up course focused on Professional Skills training. “Every Monday morning and Friday afternoon, students will come together with staff as a community to look at goals for the week,” says Seewald. “They will complete interactives, group presentations around career development topics, and engage with a guest speaker from the professional community”
In the second six months of the program, she says, “We will place the Year Up students in internships at companies such as LinkedIn, Facebook, JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America, UBS Investments, American Express, Viacom, Goldman Sachs and others.”
Year Up currently serves more than 3,000 young adults each year at sites located in business districts and on community college campuses. Eighty-five percent of graduates are employed or attending college full-time within four months of completing the program, with average starting salaries of $36,000 a year.