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Let's Help Every Teen Find a Pathway to Economic Success!


President Obama has presented this challenge to the nation: help every teen find a pathway to long-term economic success. The White House Council for Community Solutions as well as a diverse coalition of partners have stepped up to launch a 100-day initiative to unite all citizens to go “All In” for youth.

Gap Foundation, one of Futures and Options’ top funders, is a major partner in this effort. Bobbi Silten, senior vice president, global responsibility and president, Gap Foundation at Gap Inc., is a member of the Council for Community Solutions. She said of the initiative: “Whether you are in business, serve in the community, or work in local government, every American can make a difference in the life of a young person who is out of school or unemployed.”

The Council released an analysis showing that in 2011 alone, taxpayers shouldered more than $93 billion to compensate for lost taxes and direct costs to support young people disconnected from jobs and school. At least one in six young adults is disconnected from education and work, according to the report from Columbia University and CUNY/Queens College entitled, “The Economic Value of Opportunity Youth.” Projections show that over the lifetime of these young people, taxpayers will assume a $1.6 trillion burden to meet the increased needs and lost revenue from this group. 

According to a January press release from the Corporation for National & Community Service, while disconnected youth are not actively engaged in school or jobs, they represent untapped potential for our economy and society – and should be seen instead as “Opportunity Youth.” While more than half of those polled are actively seeking full-time employment, Opportunity Youth said barriers impede their ability to work, including: family responsibilities (39 percent); lack of transportation (37 percent); and not knowing how to prepare a resume or interview (32 percent). 

To galvanize action by communities, businesses, non-profits, and government in sustained efforts to provide Opportunity Youth with critical mentoring and support, the Council and its partners created easy-to-use toolkits, including:

The Connecting Youth & Business Toolkit offers employers a guide for building sustained programs to provide low-income and disconnected youth with opportunities. The toolkit also helps employers better understand the benefits of supporting at-risk youth including, increasing employee engagement, customer loyalty, and employee retention. It was created by Gap Inc. in partnership with McKinsey & Company, Corporate Voices for Working Families, and the Taproot Foundation. You can find the toolkit here.

The Community Collaboratives Toolbox empowers communities to explore a new kind of long-term, cross-sector collaborative that takes advantage of data-driven decision-making. You can find the toolbox here.

“These tools are designed to help organizations of all sizes make a long-term commitment to helping our young adults realize their potential – by providing them with the mentoring, training, or those first jobs that put them on a trajectory for lifelong success,” said Bobbi Silten.

As the nation continues to recover from the deepest recession since the Great Depression, American youth are struggling to get the work experience they need for jobs of the future. According to the Department of Labor’s Bureau of Labor Statistics (Current Population Survey): 48.8 percent of youth between the ages of 16-24 were employed in July, the month when youth employment usually peaks. This is significantly lower than the 59.2 percent of youth who were employed five years ago and 63.3 percent of youth who were employed 10 years ago. Minority youth had an especially difficult time finding employment this past summer. Only 34.6 percent of African American youth and 42.9 percent of Hispanic youth had a job this past July.


Futures and Options’ mission is to connect New York City's underserved youth to careers. If you are interested in partnering with Futures and Options to ensure Every Teen Finds a Pathway to Long-Term Economic Success, please contact Keleigh Spinner, Director of Strategic Partnerships or call 212-601-0002.

Are You an Alum of Futures and Options?


We would love to hear from you! Whether you were in the program 16 years ago or just last summer, we always want to stay in touch. Tell us how you’ve been and what you’re up to now.


Just visit the alumni section of our website and fill out a quick survey to keep us up to date.



An Intern Becomes Part of Emanate PR


This past summer, Crystal Haynes interned through Futures and Options KIPP Through College Program at Emanate PR. Crystal contributed the following post to Emanate’s blog, giving us a first-hand look into how an internship starts out right:


Becoming a Part of the ‘Nation
The first time I walked into the office as part of the Emanation, I immediately loved the energy. Janine gave me a tour of the whole office and I shook every hand on the floor, just until my fingers started to go numb. Everyone was so nice and friendly. They were all pumped to meet me and super excited that I am just 15 years old. This was the first time I felt proud to be so little. After meeting everyone—including Emma, the pet frog—Janine showed me to my desk in the intern office. I was super excited that I had pens, pencils, a tape dispenser, a computer, a phone, and a welcome card, but my excitement really came from the Crumbs cupcake that was waiting for me on my desk. At the end of the day, Janine handed me a royal blue Emanate blanket. Walking out through the glass doors holding my purse in one hand and my new blanket in the other, I knew that I had landed in the right spot. –Crystal Haynes, Mt. Greylock Regional High School.

View the entire blog post about Emanate’s summer interns here.


Interested in an Intern? Here are some FAQs


What are the advantages of hiring a Futures and Options intern? We have never hired high school students.
Futures and Options works with a diverse and motivated group of students. Our program staff pre-screens and interviews all candidates, and takes great care to match students with businesses that best fit their interests and skills. During their internships, students receive ongoing work-readiness and career development training. Each business supervisor is matched with a Futures and Options program coordinator, who supports both the student and the supervisor throughout the internship.

Business partners overwhelmingly choose Futures and Options because of the opportunity to have an “impact on the interns’ career and educational aspirations” and Futures and Options’ focus on preparing, training and matching interns.


Will I be able to interview and select an intern for my business? 
Yes, your team will interview the candidates and make the final hiring decision. Futures and Options forwards selected student resumes and you choose the students you would like to interview in person.  Our program staff coordinates interviews, which occur at your offices, and communicates your hiring decisions to the students.

What kinds of tasks do interns handle? 
Interns handle a variety of administrative tasks such as typing, mail delivery, filing, spreadsheet maintenance, online research, etc. Some interns are assigned to a specific group in which case their work is more focused. In other cases, interns work on assigned projects. Futures and Options staff is available to help develop job descriptions and/or define projects benefitting both your business and your intern.


What does the typical work schedule look like? 
The intern’s work schedule is based on your needs and the intern’s availability. After-school internship schedules vary depending upon office hours and need, but most interns work 3 to 5 days per week for a total of 9 to 15 hours each week. Summer interns work 5 days for a total of 25 to 40 hours per week.


What is the compensation for an intern? 
Futures and Options requires that students receive a minimum of $7.50 per hour throughout their internship.

What are some key factors that make the experience rewarding for the supervisor and intern? 
Futures and Options’ individualized, supportive approach is the heart of our internship program. Great care is taken at every step to ensure the best fit and highest potential for success for both supervisor and intern – 95% of our internships are successful, meaning the intern completes the internship’s designated hours and receives a positive performance review from his or her supervisor. Interns gain a sense of accomplishment, enhanced workplace skills and the beginnings of a professional network. Supervisors help develop the next generation of talent and make a memorable impact on a student’s life.


For a complete list of questions frequently asked by prospective internship sites, please visit our website FAQ page. For questions contact Keleigh Spinner, Director of Strategic Partnerships or call 212-601-0002.

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