CUNY launches Inclusive Economy Initiative with Eric Adams administration


“It’s really one of the main missing parts in making CUNY ready to go to the next level of social mobility for our students, in terms of career engagement and career development,” Matos Rodríguez told Crain’s. “It would make it easier for employers to connect with us and explore opportunities for paid internships, apprenticeships and hiring down the line.”

The CUNY system has more than 400,000 students in degree and non-degree programs, according to the university.

Mayor Eric Adams praised the program’s vision in a statement issued on Thursday.

“By launching the CUNY Inclusive Economy initiative, we are growing the student-to-career pipeline for CUNY students and providing early exposure to professions through skills training and quality internships,” Adams said. “As a CUNY alum, I know the important roles this institution plays in helping New Yorkers create a better future for themselves and their families.”

Workforce development is quickly becoming a hallmark for the Adams administration.

Earlier this month, Adams and Schools Chancellor David C. Banks unveiled the Career Readiness and Modern Youth Apprenticeship program, an initiative that expands career-connected learning opportunities for city public school students. The administration expects 3,000 students from more than 50 high schools to participate in the multiyear program.

This venture is supported by JPMorgan Chase, Accenture, Amazon and Bloomberg Philanthropies, among other companies.

The initiative CUNY announced today also partners with Amazon. The corporation has pledged to provide tuition benefits to up to 30,000 workers to attend bachelor’s or associate degree programs at one of eight CUNY colleges. Other private firms scheduled to provide multi-year commitments in either funding, employment partnerships or paid internships include Cognizant, the Charina Endowment Fund, CD&R Foundation and Robin Hood Foundation.

“They want to be partners,” Matos Rodríguez said. “They want to be useful with us in connecting to employers and being more nimble in that space.”

The university ultimately hopes to engage 20,000 businesses across the city by 2030.

CUNY anticipates the Inclusive Economy Initiative will help more than 3,000 with job placements by the end of 2023. The $16 million fund will also help the university relaunch the CUNY Office of Careers & Industry Partnerships, a unit that will now be brought into the Chancellor’s cabinet.

“This is an initiative we hope to scale up,” Matos Rodríguez said. “We’ll see how that rolls out and learn from that, and then over the next three or four years we’ll expand across our campuses.”

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