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For more than a decade, Futures and Options has empowered New York City's underserved youth to explore careers through career development and paid, mentored internships. We reach out to teens at a formative time of their lives, guiding them to further their education and become contributing citizens.
Our model program enables New York's underserved youth to gain much-needed access to the economic mainstream, work-readiness training and support from caring adults.
At the same time, private and nonprofit businesses are connected to a pipeline of promising, motivated and diverse young interns.
Together with our business and community partners, we are building the workforce of tomorrow. Our career development program makes it possible for underserved, motivated teens to acquire the applied skills and higher education to successfully contribute to a global 21st-century economy.
Who We Are
Futures and Options recruits youth who attend schools that lack sufficient resources to provide college and career guidance:
- In FY 2013, we served 509 youth.
- Our youth are: 51% African American, 27% Hispanic, 11% Asian/Pacific Islander, 2% multi-ethnic, 3% White, and 6% other. (FY 2013 data)
- Our student population is 59% female and 41% male.
- High school juniors and seniors participate in the Internship Program; the Career Essentials Program is open to high school and middle school students.
In New York City, the teen unemployment rate is 36%. New York City's underserved teens could easily fall through the cracks thus it is imperative that we work together to continue providing the kinds of internship and career development programs that enhance their education and career trajectories.
Since our inception, Futures and Options has served more than 4,000 New York City teens and coordinated internship placements at more than 300 private and nonprofit businesses in New York City, with 95% of all participants successfully completing their internships, 99% graduating from high school and 94% pursuing higher education (FY 2012 data).
Founded in 1995 as a pilot project of the Alliance for Downtown New York, our program was incorporated as a nonprofit in 1999 and has been cited by the U.S. Department of Labor as a model youth workforce development program.
Through the years, Futures and Options has enhanced its programs to meet the needs of New York City's underserved youth -- and of our communities. Established in 2008, Career Essentials served 14 students during its pilot year. In 2012, Career Essentials supported more than 125 high school and middle school youth.
We've expanded our College Guidance Initiative to include a series of workshops for both junior and senior high school students as well as one-on-one college counseling.
- Cara Flynn
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