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Climbing the ladder of success

A student from St. Catharine Academy is just one of 26 young people from the Bronx that are going to have their futures brightened by NYC Ladders for Leaders, an internship program connecting high potential young people with exciting career opportunities.

Ladders for Leaders is designed to serve high school students who might not otherwise have access to high-profile internships acquire the skills necessary to hunt for summer internships at some of New York City’s most prestigious corporations, cultural institutions, and government agencies.

Partners include Deloitte, Ernst & Young, Goldman Sachs, Lifetime Network, Major League Soccer, and many other places providing young people with the experience they need to launch their working careers.

“If kids distinguish themselves in other job programs, or simply academically, we consider them for Ladders for Leaders,” said Ryan Dodge, deputy chief of staff for the Department of Youth and Community Development. “For those who do not have any experience in the corporate sector, we try to prepare the young people as much as possible to make the most of the opportunities presented to them.”

Acceptance into the Ladders for Leaders program does not guarantee a summer internship.  Participants must first attend an orientation that gives them a sense of the commitment the program entails.

One of the students who is benefiting from Ladders for Leaders is rising St. Catharine Academy senior Mariana de los Santos, who is interning at the New York Historical Society and wants to pursue a pre-med course when she goes to college.

“I applied and did everything that was asked of me, and was finally accepted into the program,” de los Santos noted.

The workshops teach many “soft skills” such as resume writing, interviewing skills, mock interview, and leadership.

De los Santos, who lives in the E. Gun Hill Road area, found the interview with the New York Historical Society quite challenging.

“My supervisor asked me hard questions that I had to think a lot about,” de los Santos explained. “The preparation they gave us in the program really helped.”

De los Santos works a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. business day at the Society, where she is working on scripting and recording an audio tour of the non-profit’s new exhibit on Ulysses S. Grant, Robert E. Lee and Slavery in America.

“Our job is to do research about the two generals and write and record the scripts,” de los Santos said. “I am working specifically on John Browne. At that stop on the tour, you will hear my voice and the background history of who he was.”

De los Santos is enjoying her job and the lessons she provides.  “I didn’t know I’d have this much fun since I was not a history person,” she said, “and even though it is a large commitment, I would definitely recommend this program to others.”

De los Santos is just one young person the program can help.

“We know there are plenty of talented young New Yorkers, and we want to give them the opportunity to succeed,” Dodge stated.

For more information on Ladders for Leaders, go to www.nyc.gov and select the Department of Youth and Community Development from the drop-down menu. 

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