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Futures and Options, New York, New York
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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.
Vision 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 21 st-century economy. Who We Are Futures and Options recruits youth who attend schools that lack sufficient resources to provide educational and career guidance: •Nearly half of Futures and Options students live at or below 150% of the federal poverty level* and 67% qualify for free lunch assistance. •Our youth are: 44% African American, 27% Hispanic, 13% Asian/Pacific Islander, 9% multi-ethnic, 4% White, 1% Native American and 2% other. (2009 data) •Our student population is 61% female and 39% male. •High school juniors and seniors between the ages of 16 and 19 participate in the Internship Program; the Pre-Internship Program is open to high school and middle school students ages 13-19. New York City's underserved teens could easily fall through the cracks. 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. * 150% of federal poverty level is $33,075 for a family of four in 2009-2010. History Since our inception, Futures and Options has served more than 1,500 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, graduating from high school and pursuing higher education. 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. In 2007, we designed and piloted a Pre-Internship Program, which has grown to serve 100 young people. 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.
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