Employer Participation Options

New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) Work-Based Learning Initiative

Authentic workplace experiences have always been of great value to youth and young adults and all can benefit from activities such as Job Shadowing, Career Mentorship, Internships, and Workplace Tours, especially when combined with classroom training or workshops, support services, and other career-readiness activities. With the New York City’s new Career Pathways framework and the passing of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA), there are new expectations, requirements and resources for DYCD programs. Partnerships with employers are critical if education and training systems are to effectively contribute to the city’s talent pipeline.*

Career Pathways and Your Company: Participation Options

What are the benefits of my company’s participation?

The Career Pathways approach offers an effective and appropriate vehicle for employers to help build and retain their future workforce. Participation in Career Pathways helps build awareness of the employer’s role in the community and offers a public relations benefit. By opening your place of business to youth and young adults from DYCD programs and providing high-value Work-Based Learning opportunities, employers are able to expose the community to their business and industry and benefit from productive work. Employers can observe potential future employees in a “long-term interview” context and participate in shaping their future workforce. Youth and young adults also provide access to a customer resource and point of view. An employer’s existing workforce benefits from a more productive and engaged workforce and by offering leadership and supervisory skills development opportunities to its current workers. New York City DYCD programs first and foremost provide an opportunity for companies to support and help develop highly skilled and productive future employees. Participation also helps build awareness in the community of the employer’s role in the local economy and offers a public relations benefit.

Why are Career Pathways important for youth and young adults engaged in DYCD programs?

Participation in Career Pathways fast tracks youth and young adults to their personal career goals. Youth and young adults pursuing a Career Pathway focus on their long-term goals through training and other career development activities in the context of an industry that provides an incentive to persist and complete their education or training. They complete the program with direct experience with partner employers and a firm foundation for entry into the workforce or future educational and training opportunities.

Through Work-Based Learning activities, youth and young adults build awareness of potential careers in a particular industry and are able to explore options and start preparing for their future. Work-Based Learning provides opportunities for hands-on learning and the development of relationships with professional adult role models. Participating youth and young adults acquire experience and build professional workplace and occupational skills while learning about the training or education required to succeed in specific careers. They are better able to understand real-world applications of academics and occupational training, and answer the question, “Why do I need to learn this?”

Career Pathways strengthen communities. They help align education, workforce and service systems to promote a strong economic future and build an engaged citizenry. New York City DYCD programs provide a robust local talent pipeline and help the local economy grow and retain a workforce.

How can my company participate?

There are many ways in which employers can partner with Career Pathway efforts in New York City.

While employer involvement in each of the following activities is critical to the success of our DYCD initiatives, employer partners are not expected to participate in all activities. Representatives of the New York City DYCD programs will work with you to help identify and select the activities that make the most sense for your business and employees.

Employer Participation Options

DYCD is implementing a Career Pathway approach to do their part to prepare the next generation of our city’s workforce. Programs and initiatives are designed to directly connect and prepare youth and young adults to be successful in the workplace today, and to be ready for the careers of tomorrow. There are many ways for your company to be involved.

  • Serve on an Industry Advisory Board or Steering Committee.
  • Help us map the skills needed for success in high-demand occupations in your industry.
  • Support Career Pathways instruction by being a Guest Speaker in a classroom or in a workshop or providing opportunities for instructors to experience your workplace through an externship.
  • Provide Work-Based Learning experiences for Career Pathways youth and young adults.

DYCD initiatives deliver authentic workplace experiences for youth and young adults in partnership with employers, and offer strategies and support to limit the burden on employers and increase the educational value of these experiences for youth and young adults. All workplace experiences are highly structured and supported by the partner youth organization. While the full range of experiences are provided to youth and young adults, each employer partner provides those opportunities that are a good fit with their business.

Work-Based Learning Options

Workplace Tour

A Career Awareness activity in which small groups of youth and young adults visit a workplace, learn about the business, meet employees, ask questions and observe work in progress.

Guest Speaker

A Career Awareness activity where an employer partner visits a classroom and provides a presentation on their company, industry and occupation. Guest Speakers also address the application of academics in a real-world context.

Informational Interview

A Career Exploration activity where a youth or young adult interviews an employee of a partner business about his/her career and industry.

Job Shadowing

A Career Exploration activity in which a youth or young adult is paired with an employee of a program partner business and follows that employee during much of a regular work day. A Job Shadow provides youth and young adults the opportunity to experience the workplace, understand the various roles and duties of a particular occupation, learn about the business, connect with a working adult and observe work in progress.

Work Experience

A career preparation activity in which a youth or young adult has the opportunity to develop and demonstrate professional and occupational skills by addressing a core business function and doing productive work with a DYCD employer partner.


A Career Preparation activity in which a youth or young adult has the opportunity to learn by doing real work and being productively engaged in the workplace. They may work in teams, rotate through a number of departments and job functions, or work on a project of interest to the youth or young adult and of value to the employer partner.

Workplace Challenge

A Career Preparation activity where small groups of youth and young adults (4-6 per team) are engaged in solving a problem or a challenge issued by an employer in consultation with an instructor.

Career Mentoring

A Career Exploration activity in which a youth or young adult is matched one-on-one or in small groups with an adult professional to explore potential careers and related educational issues.

* In November of 2014, Career Pathways: One City Working Together was released by the New York City Office of Workforce Development. This report declared the City’s commitment to moving away from a “Rapid Attachment” model to a “Career Pathways” framework. Career Pathways assists individuals in taking the steps needed in education, training and employment to achieve self-sufficiency. This requires a goal and a plan. The report recommends increased funding for training and bridge programs that expand industry partnerships and improve job quality. Having gone into effect in New York City as of July 1, 2015, WIOA includes a Career Pathways approach and incorporates a great deal of changes and adjustments for youth program providers. Program design, funding levels and outcome measurement – including follow-up, are among the areas impacted. There is also an increased emphasis on industry and interagency partnerships as well as the promotion of sector-based strategies. As a result, education, training and workplace experiences are more integrated in a single pathways approach. Career Pathways and WIOA are already having an impact on the workforce development field. There is more emphasis on helping young people plan for their career, not just that first job. Work-Based Learning can serve as an important element in this new paradigm.

New York City Youth and Young Adult Career Pathways