Recipients of Charles Hayden Foundation Grants
New York, NY 10271
Founded in 1995, Futures and Options' mission is to connect New York City's underserved youth to careers. We reach out to at-risk teens at a formative time of their lives ��" before they grow into adulthood ��" guiding and mentoring them to further their education, develop job skills, and become contributing and responsible citizens. In this way, they become role models for their peers, siblings and communities.
Through career development and paid, mentored internships, our model program enables youth to gain much needed access to the economic mainstream, participate in work-readiness training, explore career opportunities that may seem unattainable to them, and receive support and mentoring from caring and achieving adults. At the same time, businesses and government agencies are connected to a pipeline of promising, motivated and diverse young people.
Since our inception, we have served more than 3,000 teens and coordinated internships at more than 350 businesses. In a city with a high school graduation rate of 60.9% in 2012, 99% of our seniors graduated from high school on time, and 94% began college in fall of 2012. New York City's teen unemployment rate is 35.6%, yet Futures and Options provided highly-supported paid internships for 213 high school students, with 96% successfully completing our program. Our Internship Program graduates have reported improvements in their ability to take initiative and network as well as in their communication and organizational skills; and our alumni have been hired for full-time jobs at companies such as Standard & Poor's, Macquarie Financial, Hawkins Delafield & Wood LLP, Colgate Palmolive, NYC Department of Small Business Services and PwC.
Futures and Options program model works because youth career development is our primary focus. We dedicate 100% of our resources to achieving excellence in this area, which makes for efficient management and highly effective programming. In 2008, we recognized the need to provide students who were too young or had not yet acquired the skill level for internships with career development opportunities. To meet this need, we expanded our programming with Career Essentials and Bridge To Work. Additionally, we developed a more robust college guidance program to help our high school youth apply to and select their colleges.
In the past three years, youth service providers seeking to expand their program continuum to include work-readiness training and internships have turned to Futures and Options. Our strategic partnerships have proven to be an excellent approach to growing our capacity to serve more youth. Futures and Options provides the management and coordination of internship programs, our Career Essentials programs and selected work-readiness and career exploration workshops for schools, nonprofit organizations and businesses.