Ladders for Leaders

Young Adults (Ages 16-24)
Central Queens (Forest Hills)
A group of people posing in front of a building.

Overview

Commonpoint Queens is home to a number of youth workforce programs, including the nationally recognized program Ladders for Leaders. Ladders for Leaders offers high school and college students the opportunity to participate in paid professional summer internships with leading corporations, non-profit organizations and government agencies in New York City. 

The 2024 Ladders for Leaders application is now open – click here to apply!

If you are interested in learning more about any of our Youth Employment programs, please complete this form!

Contact us:

Terri Prezio
Director, Employer Partnerships – Ladders for Leaders, JFEW, CUNY
tprezio@commonpointqueens.org
718-268-5011 ext. 162  

Albina Baazov, LMSW
Senior Director, Youth Employment Programs
abaazov@commonpointqueens.org
718-268-5011 ext. 111

For general questions, please email L4L@commonpointqueens.org.

This program is an initiative of the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD)

Please note that Ladders for Leaders merged with the SYEP application. Qualified students will be directed to the Ladders for Leaders application once they complete and submit their SYEP applications.

Click here to start your application

In Summer 2023, we were able to place 1011 students in 156 different worksites. Our interns secured internships in companies like:

  • BlackRock
  • The Paley Center for Media
  • Guggenheim Partners
  • NY Presbyterian
  • BNY Mellon
  • SHARE Cancer Support
  • City Parks Foundation
  • Northwell Health
  • The Manhattan, Queens, Bronx and Brooklyn District Attorney Offices
  • And more!

Ladders for Leaders provides paid professional internships to NYC youth between the ages of 16 and 24. Applicants are evaluated based on academic performance, response to essay questions, and résumé quality. Selected applicants will undertake 20-30 hours of pre-employment training designed to teach essential workplace readiness skills and professional etiquette. Participants will then have the opportunity to interview for summer internships at a variety of companies across New York City. Partnering employers make final selections on hiring for the six-week paid internship.

Who is Eligible:

  • Youth between the ages of 16-24 at the start of the program who are enrolled in high school or college
  • A minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00
  • Resident of one of the five boroughs of New York City
  • Anyone with prior work experience, either paid or volunteer
  • Legally allowed to work in New York City

 Ladders for Leaders gives students a unique opportunity to explore their interests and discover new ones through:

  • Pre-employment Training: Receive help with resume and cover letter writing, and interviewing skills.  Learn essential workplace readiness skills and business etiquette.
  • Paid Summer Internships: Paid internship opportunities available in a variety of industries in New York City to accommodate student interests.
  • Opportunity to join our growing Alumni Network:  Broad network of alumni, post-internship opportunities and networking events open to past participants of the program.

Join our mailing list 
Let’s succeed together! Refer a friend who may be interested in Ladders for Leaders to gain professional work experience.

Since its inception in 2006, Ladders for Leaders has helped introduce high achieving and motivated young people to the world of work, while also providing the tools and skills they need to become successful young professionals. While creating a pipeline of career opportunities for a new, talented, diverse young adult population, the program has provided NYC businesses access to a skilled pool of potential future employment prospects.

Who are our participants?

Outstanding students from top high schools and colleges

Trained to work in a professional work environment

Skilled in the use of technology and social media

Diverse representing various cultural and educational backgrounds

“The Ladders for Leaders program at Commonpoint Queens provided us with a top-notch intern for the summer. The team at Ladders for Leaders worked diligently to present us with high-quality and intelligent candidates that fit the qualifications we were looking for to do special project work in our research department. The intern we secured for the summer was an outstanding fit for the role and helped our business kick off a new initiative that we are currently scaling for future growth. We would highly recommend this program to other employers and look forward to hiring another Ladders for Leaders intern in the future!”

– Michael Bizenov, President of Sound Royalties

Join Our Network of Supporters! There are many ways to partner with Ladders for Leaders: 

Interested in learning more about what a partnership with L4L looks like?

Terri Prezio, Ladders for Leaders Corporate Development Manager
tprezio@commonpointqueens.org
718-268-5011 ext. 162

Partnered Worksites in Summer 2023

92NYMWBE Unite
Actors Theatre WorkshopNew York Accessory Group (NYAG)
Advanced Medical CareNew York Blood Center
All Aces Promotional StaffingNYC Civic Engagement Commission
American Red CrossNYC Council Member Farrah Louis
ASPCANew York Hall of Science
Another Come UpNew York Law School
Anti Defamation LeagueNew York Life Insurance Company
AS BeautyNew York Presbyterian Queens
Atlas Capital GroupNoFraud
AvodahNorthwell Health
BlackrockNouveau Elevator Industries
BNY Mellon PershingNY Residents Alliance (NYRA)
Bronx District AttorneyNew York State Office of Attorney General
Brooklyn District AttorneyNYC Health and Hospitals/Elmhurst
C&G Enterprises Unlimited, LLCNYC Health + Hospitals / Queens
Cancer + CareersNYC Health + Hospitals; Harlem Hospital
Center for Excellence in Youth Education-Icahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNYC Health + Hospitals/Woodhull Hospital
Center for Reproductive RightsNYS AHEC; The New York State Area Health Education Center
Central Park ConservancyNYS Office of the Attorney General
Chi Aesthetics MedSpa and Wellness CenterNYC Office of the Comptroller
Circle Fine Homes and Ikezi Law GroupOffice of Queens Borough President
CleonmayeOffice of Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez
Clinton FoundationOasis
Coalition for Asian American Children+Families (CACF)Open Space Institute
Commonpoint QueensPalapa
Community SolutionsPoldit
Council Member Shahana Hanif, District 39Pong Space
Council Member Pierina Sanchez, District 14Port Authority of NY, NJ
Council Member Sandy Nurse, District 37Project 96
Council Member Shekar Krishnan, District 25Project Queens
DePalo Law FirmPublicis Media/ Starcom
Dr. Tanya Vlacancich, DDSQueens Chamber of Commerce
Edge Auto RentalQueens District Attorney’s Office
EK CommunicationsQueens Museum
Emblem HealthQueens World Film Festival
EnfusionRescuing Leftover Cuisine
Ford FoundationThe Rockefeller Foundation
Girls Who CodeSage USA
Goodwill of NY NJSchneps Media
Grant Associates Inc. Senior Umbrella Network of Queens, SUN-Q
Greater New York Hospital Association (GNYHA)SHARE Cancer Support
Greater NY Chamber of CommerceShop Repurpose Wardrobe
Greenwich House Inc.Skanska
Guggenheim PartnersSlalom
Half The StorySound Royalties
Harboring HeartsSt. John’s Episcopal Hospital
HarborLabSt. Mary’s Hospital for Children
HealthfirstStaten Island DA Office
HLW International LLPSunnyside District Management Association
Hospice of New YorkSUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
IGS CreativeSuperstructure
Inspire EnterpriseSwift Retail Advisors LLC
INTEGRIA LLC dba DahliaSynergos
International Rescue Committee (IRC)Tall Poppy
IPG HealthTapestry
Irene Grafman DDS – Smile Health SpaTBWA/Chiat/Day
Jacob K Javits Convention CenterThe Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel
The Guggenheim Museum
Jamaica Hospital Medical CenterThe Legal Aid Society
JCDecauxThe National September 11 Memorial Museum
JRT RealtyThe New York Foundling
Juvenile Diabetes Research FoundationThe New York Mets
Kings County Integrated domestic Violence courtThe New York Outdoor Recreation Coalition
Lindley Consulting Group LLCThe Orsini Way
LionessThe Paley Center for Media
LoBello CommunicationsTriangles Around Prospect Park
Lockton CompaniesUnilever
Long Island Jewish Forest Hills | Northwell HealthUrban Green Council
Madison Square GardenUSTA, United States Tennis Authority
Manhattan District Attorney OfficeVayner Media
MDRCVillageCare
Memorial Sloan KetteringWCA Technologies
MetroPlus Health PlanYivo Institute for Jewish Research
Minds Beyond Measure
Modern Language Associate of America (MLA)
Mount Vernon Hotel Museum & Garden
MPG Consulting
Museum of Jewish Heritage-Holocaust Museum

Below is a map of all of our worksites.

Participant Frequently Asked Questions

Commonpoint Queens Ladders for Leaders Program – Frequently Asked Questions

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. 

.

  • Youth between the ages of 16-24 at the start of the program who are enrolled in high school or college
  • A minimum Grade Point Average (GPA) of 3.00
  • Resident of one of the five boroughs of New York City
  • Anyone with prior work experience, either paid or volunteer
  • Legally allowed to work in New York City

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.

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.

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

Visit the DYCD website (https://application.nycsyep.com/Pages/StatusLogin.aspx) and follow the instructions, or email L4L@commonpointqueens.org for a status update.

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.

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 l4l@commonpointqueens.org 

  • 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) 

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.

  • 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. 
  • You must attend pre employment workshop and mock interview. 

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. 

  • 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. 

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.

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

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

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. 

There are two types of employment opportunities: subsidized and unsubsidized

  • 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 

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. 

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. 

  • 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.

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

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 view the map below

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.

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

Intern with Impact – L4L Special Podcast Series

The CommonPod Queens Podcast has a Special Series, working with the Commonpoint Queens Ladders for Leaders (L4L) youth employment program! Throughout the Internships with Impact Podcast, we will be discussing the experiences of the ambitious students who participated in our program and the amazing employers we have partnered with.

You can listen to our podcast episodes below. You can also find the podcast on SpotifyGoogle PodcastsRadioPublic, Breaker, and PocketCasts.

2023-24 Season

The CommonPod Queens Podcast is back with our special series “Internships with Impact!”

This week, we spoke with Yusuf Zafar who had the opportunity to work at The Carlyle, a Rosewood Hotel last summer. His internship helped him broaden his horizons and gain experience in the world of hotel management and allowed him to explore a new interest in photography. Listen along as Yusuf talks about how Ladders for Leaders helped him secure his internship!

The CommonPod Queens Podcast is back with our special series “Internships with Impact!”

This week, we had a conversation with Samama Moontaha, who has been actively engaged with Ladders for Leaders since 2020! Over the last few years, she has gained valuable experience through internships at notable organizations such as the Paley Center for Media, JRT Realty, and most recently, CBRE. While interning at the Paley Center, she seized the opportunity to indulge in her passion for cameras and video editing, particularly during the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. At JRT Realty, she successfully combined her creative and technical skills to contribute to the marketing efforts of the firm. In her latest role with CBRE, Samama focused more on leveraging her technical expertise and applying the skills acquired through her coursework to real-world situations. Tune in as Samama shares how her journey with Ladders for Leaders has played a pivotal role in shaping both her professional and personal growth.

2021 Season

For the first episode of Internships with Impact, we interviewed one of our alumni participants, Yaakov Spraragen. Yaakov is currently a senior at Baruch College and will be receiving his MBA in Israel post-graduation.  As an aspiring international business communications professional, Yaakov discusses his first professional internship, how the L4L team helped find the perfect fit for him, and how this lead to life changing  professional and personal development.

Listen to hear more about his positive experience with Ladders for Leaders at Commonpoint Queens!

Zakia is currently a part-time job placement assistant with the Ladders for Leaders team and works for Amalgamated Bank in their compliance department. Prior to joining our team, Zakia participated in the program twice! Her first internship placement was at the law office of Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP and her second placement was at Amalgamated Bank, where she has continued to work since 2019. A self-motivated individual, Zakia’s short term post graduate plan is to work full time while receiving her MBA. Once she has completed graduate school, her long term goal is to attend law school and become a corporate attorney.

Listen along as we discuss how important it is to explore various career opportunities through different internships, to take risks and to pay it forward.

For the third episode, we interviewed one of our former participants, Leticia Antwi. Throughout her time with Ladders for Leaders, Leticia has interned at a law firm, a local newspaper, the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner and finally, at Queens Hospital! Prior to joining the Ladders for Leaders program, Leticia initially thought she wanted to become a lawyer. Her internship experiences allowed her to explore different careers which ultimately made her realize she wanted to join the medical field someday. Leticia just graduated from CUNY Hunter College with her Bachelor’s in Human Biology and Sociology. She is currently applying to graduate school to get her masters in public health. Listen along to learn more about Leticia’s experience with Ladders for Leaders!

For the third episode, we interviewed one of our former participants, Leticia Antwi. Throughout her time with Ladders for Leaders, Leticia has interned at a law firm, a local newspaper, the NYC Office of Chief Medical Examiner and finally, at Queens Hospital! Prior to joining the Ladders for Leaders program, Leticia initially thought she wanted to become a lawyer. Her internship experiences allowed her to explore different careers which ultimately made her realize she wanted to join the medical field someday. Leticia just graduated from CUNY Hunter College with her Bachelor’s in Human Biology and Sociology. She is currently applying to graduate school to get her masters in public health. Listen along to learn more about Leticia’s experience with Ladders for Leaders!

In this episode, we sat down (virtually!) with one of our veteran participants, Noreen Mohsin. Currently, Noreen is a senior at the University of Pennsylvania and is majoring in finance. She was a Ladders participant in high school, landing an internship at Deloitte after her junior year and an internship at the Bank of America after her senior year. Once she graduates from UPenn in the spring, she will begin a full time position at Blackstone as a Private Equity Analyst. Her experience shows that internships are not just for college students but available to high school students too! You are never too young to begin exploring different career opportunities through professional internships. Listen along to hear more about Noreen’s experience and the benefits that Ladders for Leaders provides to both participants and employers

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ladders for Leaders program was cancelled in 2020. This left many New York City youth without a summer internship experience. Through a generous donation from one of our employer partners, Cord Meyer Development, we were able to place 12 students in subsidized internships. This week, we spoke with Jeremy Espinoza, one of our Ladders for Leaders veterans who was one of the Cord Meyer funded students. With this donation, Jeremy had the opportunity to intern with the New York Legal Assistance Group (NYLAG) during the summer of 2020. Listen along as Jeremy talks about getting comfortable with the uncomfortable and how Ladders prepared him for his first internship with BlackRock, Inc. in 2019.

In 2019, Tymira Holman participated in her second internship with Ladders for Leaders at the law firm Goldfarb & Fleece LLP. By the end of her summer with the firm, they offered Tymira a full time position as a law clerk. Tymira was the FIRST intern to be hired full time at the firm! Since then, she has been elevated to a paralegal position and is applying to grad school for Fall 2021. Her goal is to become a lawyer at the firm upon graduation. Listen along to hear more about Tymira’s amazing success story with the Ladders for Leaders program.

As a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Ladders for Leaders program was cancelled in 2020, leaving over 500 NYC students without a summer internship. Through a generous donation from one of our employer partners, Cord Meyer Development, we were able to place 12 students in subsidized internships. This week, we spoke with Brooke Harris, another one of our Ladders for Leaders veterans who was one of the Cord Meyer funded students. With this donation, Brooke had the opportunity to intern with Urban Green Council during the summer of 2020. Prior to this, she interned with the ABM Agency in 2019 through the program. Both internships helped her realize she wanted to enter the marketing field. Listen along as Brooke discusses how her experience with Ladders for Leaders helped her secure a marketing internship this summer with major cosmetics company, L’Oreal!

Meet Our Interns

“I am grateful for Ladders for Leaders for connecting me with Ponce Bank for this internship opportunity. I am learning a lot about bank operations, customer relationship, and cash handling procedures. This is a very good exposure for me since I come from a business major academic background. 

Ladders, especially Albina, have been an integral part of the initial application process. She was always available via email. She followed up with me throughout the process in the midst of the craziness with COVID. 

I can’t be more grateful for Commonpoint Queens for providing me with amazing opportunities throughout my college career, including this one!”

“Real estate is an industry driven by networking and experience. I have always been fascinated by the idea of knowing the city like the back of your hand, and I am so grateful to have now been part of the real estate workforce for two years. Whether or not it’s ultimately what I pursue full-time, the people that I have met and the skills I have learned will open so many doors and help me put my best foot forward in any field.

Did you know?

Our wide variety of programs are available throughout the New York City Metropolitan Area! Browse our list of facilities to learn more about our core locations and program sites.