Internship to Employment Program

The City University of New York (CUNY) — Goal 2 Initiative Internship to Employment Program

The City University of New York is poised to play a leading role in New York City’s recovery. Through the Internship to Employment (I2E) program, CUNY will simultaneously reinvigorate small businesses and springboard the careers of CUNY graduates.

  • New York City is on the precipice of recovering from the devastating public health crisis and recession caused by COVID-19.
  • The burden and pain of the pandemic has been disproportionately suffered by communities of color, low-wage workers, and small businesses, who traditionally struggle to recruit talent outside of their immediate networks.
  • As of July 2021, small businesses revenue across the city was down 61% from pre-pandemic levels.
  • Amidst this backdrop, the I2E initiative meets immediate talent needs by helping small businesses respond to and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic across pertinent industries in New York City in zip codes that could most benefit.
  • The initiative connects recent alumni to small businesses in New York City with the express goal of converting qualified candidates from internship to job offer at their host companies. To do so, the model provides extra support to employers who agree to extend an offer to students following their internship.

Initiative Differentiators

  • Historically, CUNY has worked closely with large, visible businesses in NYC to make public hiring pledges.
  • In addition to these large businesses, CUNY recognized it had an important role to play for supporting small businesses who may not have the capacity or resources to perform an extensive search when hiring new talent.
  • Through I2E, CUNY can help bridge the gap between students and small businesses, contributing to significant economic recovery and helping kickstart the communities most impacted by the pandemic.
  • Internship opportunities for alumni are rare.  I2E will aim to support alumni who may not have participated in an internship during their time at CUNY or may have changed their career plans.

Key Interventions and Milestones

  • I2E targets CUNY alumni who were unable to identify paid internship opportunities during their CUNY tenure and are having difficulty finding professional track above living wage work.
  • The initiative provides work experience in high-demand job areas with expected short-term and long-term growth opportunities.
  • The initiative will grow from a 2021 pilot of 50 interns to two cohorts totaling 150 interns in 2022, with a goal of expanding further in 2023.
  • CUNY estimates the continued conversion rate from internship to continued employment with an employer partner will remain at 50%.

Expected Impact

  • I2E aims to increase the number of CUNY alumni hired by small businesses and provide a long-term infrastructure to make these connections for years to come.
    • 70% of the internship roles will lead to professional-track careers in job types such as web developer, engineer, junior architect, communications manager, marketing coordinator, construction project manager, and more.
    • 50% of interns will convert to regular employment after the internship period ends
    • Associates degree alumni participation will grow from 8% to 30% by targeting Applied Associates degree alumni.
    • 60% of interns hired by their small business worksite, will retain employment with the small business one year from the beginning of the internship.