In 2016, the foundation provided support to CO*OP, a new apprenticeship and job placement program based in New York City that targets high-potential, underserved, and underemployed students and recent graduates of five CUNY colleges (Baruch College, Brooklyn College, City College of New York, Lehman College, and Guttman Community College) who lack direction for full-time employment opportunities and upward mobility with a clear career path in the digital media industry. Since the program launched in 2014, CO*OP has run six cohorts, serving a total of 70 participants, of whom 96 percent are minority and 54 percent are first-generation-to-college students.
As a result, 85 percent of youth and young adults served have launched full-time careers in tech, design, and media. Graduates of the program are experiencing an average $27,000 income swing in the first year of employment (average incoming salary is $15,000 while the average post-program salary is $42,000, excluding benefits).
The foundation’s support will enable CO*OP’s capacity building, including expansion to recruit and train 30 Cohort Captains to serve as mentor-coaches to 100 to-140 motivated and underemployed CUNY graduates in 2016. CO*OP projects an 85 percent job placement rate in full-time salaried positions that require a college degree within one year of completing the program.