Participant Frequently Asked Questions

Commonpoint Queens Ladders for Leaders Program – Frequently Asked Questions

What is NYC Ladders for Leaders?

Ladders for Leaders is a nationally recognized program that offers high school and college students the opportunity to participate in paid professional summer internships with leading corporations, nonprofit organizations and government agencies in New York City. 

Who is eligible?

To be eligible for Ladders, you must meet the following requirements:  

  • Be a high school or college student between the ages of 16-21  
  • Have a minimum grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00  
  • Be a permanent resident of one of the five boroughs of New York City  
  • Must have prior work experience, either paid or volunteer  
  • Be legally allowed to work in New York City

What is the L4L process?

There are four components to the application process:

  1. Online Application
  2. Pre- Employment workshops
  3. Mock interviews (Individual and Group)
  4. Employment opportunity emails and Interviews with potential employers. 

Participants selected into the program must attend the pre-employment workshop. Failure to complete or attend mandatory program events will result in dismissal from the program.

How is my application being evaluated?

Your application is being scored and evaluated based on the following:

  1. Essay questions
  2. Resume*
  3. Transcript

***Please make sure to review your resume carefully as it plays a significant part in your acceptance and possible job placement.

Can I submit more than one Ladders application? Does it increase my chances to be selected for a job?

No, only the first application submitted will be accepted. Submitting multiple applications may disqualify you from the program.

How can I check on the status of my Ladders application?

Visit the DYCD website ( and follow the instructions, or email [email protected] for a status update.

What happens after I submit my application?

All applications will be reviewed for eligibility based on your essay questions, resume and GPA. If eligible you will receive an email welcoming you to the program 

***Please keep in mind that submission of an application DOES NOT guarantee acceptance into the NYC Ladders for Leaders program or placement in a summer internship position.

What happens after my application was reviewed?

You will receive an email from the L4L team in regards to your application status. Applicants will either be:

  • Selected – Accepted into the program and will be invited to pre employment workshop 
  • Waitlisted – You are not rejected from the program. If more spots open up your candidacy will be re-evaluated. 
  • Rejected – Will not be accepted into the program due to not meeting program requirements. Supplemental resources for summer employment  will be provided. 

***Further clarification on status decisions can be provided by reaching out to 

What are my responsibilities once I have been selected?

  • You must attend pre employment workshop and mock interview. 
  • You will need to submit further documentation to verify the information on your application. You will be responsible for obtaining and providing these documents during the pre- employment workshop (a list of required documents will be provided for you once invited for a pre employment workshop)

What is the pre-employment workshop?

All Ladders for Leaders participants must complete unpaid employment and work readiness orientation. The workshops focus on resume writing, job interview skills, financial literacy, college and career exploration, health and gender issues, leadership development, and more. 

You will be scheduled and informed of your pre-employment workshop date via email. 

*YOU MUST attend all pre-employment workshops and submit required documentation in order to be considered for an interview and a potential summer internship placement. These documents are a crucial part of your enrollment process.

What are the mock interviews?

  • After the pre-employment workshop hours are completed you will be scheduled for a mock interview.
  • Participants will be interviewing individually or in groups for a fictitious position. 
  • Mock interviews will also be offered to applicants scheduled for an interview with a potential employer. Mock interview can take place in person, over the phone and via Skype/Zoom etc. 

When will I be getting the employment opportunity emails?

Employment opportunities will be emailed out when you hand in all required documents completed at pre employment workshop and complete a mock interview and as soon as they become available. Please make sure you are continually checking your email and reading the messages thoroughly. 

What happens when I respond to an employment opportunity email?

  • If you are eligible your resume will be forwarded on to the employer.
  • The employer will review all of the resumes provided and decide who they would like to set up interviews with.
  • The employer or Commonpoint Queens will set up interviews with those they are interested in for that specific position.
  • Hope for an offer of employment!  If you do not receive an offer, not to worry there will be other opportunities. 

May my resume be forwarded to more than one worksite at a time?

Unfortunately not. While you are allowed to submit interest in multiple opportunities, your resume will only be referred to 1 company at a time. Once your resume is referred out, you will not receive the job list nor will your resume be considered for any other position until the company releases your resume.

What are the dates of the program?

The internship portion of the Ladders for Leaders program is between six to eight weeks and will begin anytime between June and July. 

How much do the internships pay?

Salaries vary. Internships pay at the New York State minimum wage or higher.  

How will I get paid?

There are two types of employment opportunities: subsidized and unsubsidized

  • Subsidized Worksites– Paid by the city. You will be able to set up a direct deposit account or debit card will be issued for you. 
  • Unsubsidized worksites– Paid by the employer and payment established by the employer directly. 

How many hours can I work and do I get paid for lunch breaks?

  • If you are placed in subsidized worksites then you can work up to 25 hours a week. Your hours will be tracked using timesheets provided by Commonpoint Queens. 
  • If you are placed in an unsubsidized worksite you can work for up to 40 hours a week.  
  • You will not be paid for lunch/breaks 

May I work more hours than allowed through the program?

Yes. As long as it is agreed upon between the worksite and participant, however, if you are placed in a subsidized worksite, Commonpoint Queens will not be able to pay for the additional hours and it must comply with NYS labor laws. Participants are paid $15 per hour for up to 25 hours a week. 

Can I choose which employer I want to interview with?

During the pre-employment training, your provider will have the opportunity to learn more about your career interests and goals, and will use the information in deciding which company they forward your resume to or which employer you interview with. They will also consider the career options you selected in the Ladders application in determining an appropriate internship site for you. 

What are my responsibilities during the duration of the program?

  • For subsidized worksites (paid by the city) you are responsible for submitting weekly timesheets. Timesheet instructions will be provided upon securing a job.
  • Unsubsidized worksites are responsible for providing proof of employment in the form of a statement via email with the following information: number of hours worked a week, dates worked and hourly salary.

Do I need Working Papers?

Yes. If you are selected for a Ladders position and you are under the age of 18, you must submit your most current working paper. Working papers can be obtained through any New York City Public High School or District Family Advocates office

At what types of companies are the internship opportunities?

Ladders internships are paid, professional opportunities within corporations, government agencies and non-profit organizations. For a full list of companies we partnered with in 2022 please click HERE.

What type of work will I do as an intern?

Internship tasks and responsibilities vary based on the employer. Some tasks past Ladders interns have worked on include, but are not limited to, marketing, database maintenance, event planning, sales, external communications, research, data analysis and operations management.

What type of skills are employers looking for?

Job descriptions will vary for each employer. Prior to any interview, Central Queens will provide information regarding the skills required by hiring employers. 


If you have any questions about completing the application, please contact us at [email protected]