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More than 100 city high school students got a jumpstart on potential corporate careers this summer thanks to a new youth workforce initiative by the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD).

The Corporate Allies Program of Internships, Training and Leadership, or CAPITAL, was launched at NASDAQ in Times Square two weeks ago to connect motivated high schoolers with summer internships in the corporate sector. Prior to this initiative, the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) offered internships primarily at government or nonprofit agencies.

“The priority for CAPITAL interns is to gain exposure to corporate environments,” said Ken Brown, vice president of global human resources at Young & Rubicam Brands, an ad agency that hired 11 CAPITAL interns this summer. “We were drawn to the CAPITAL program because it taps into the community, connects with students, and hopefully will continue to attract them to our industry.”

While SYEP has placed as many as 50,000 job-seeking 14 to 21 year-olds in one summer, CAPITAL’s inaugural class is made up of only 113 students who just completed their junior and senior years of high school. All are SYEP alumni who were nominated by their employers from last summer and competed for their present jobs.

“CAPITAL participants were not placed in their summer position, but had to interview for a summer internship,” said Michael Ognibene, DYCD Chief of Staff. “All nominees attended a series of workshops prepared by DYCD and designed to equip participants with information and tools needed to conduct an effective job search and find success in their summer assignment.” Participants in both summer programs earn the New York State minimum wage of $6.75, but CAPITAL participants may work more than the SYEP maximum of 25 hours per week for seven weeks.

“Our interns will get to see how creative enterprises operate. They will have a variety of responsibilities that support our businesses directly and indirectly,” Brown said.

Ogilvy & Mather, another ad agency participating in CAPITAL’s inaugural summer, hired four interns. Ogilvy spokesperson Toni Lee said, “The goal is to expose interns to the business and interest them in careers in advertising. We expect this to be a program that we will incorporate into our ongoing summer internship program.” [07/10/06]

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