Our History

Our History

In 1995, volunteers founded Comprehensive Development, Inc. (CDI) as a nonprofit to provide tutoring and college preparation to older, undercredited students ages 17-21 at the newly founded Manhattan Comprehensive Night & Day High School. We expanded our services to The High School for Health Professions and Human Services in 2011 and City-As-School High School in 2012. In 2015, we launched the CYD Career Academy, a postsecondary healthcare training program, in partnership with Borough of Manhattan Community College. In 2020, we changed our name to Comprehensive Youth Development to reflect that youth are at the center of all we do.


The building that now houses Manhattan Comprehensive Night & Day High School and Comprehensive Youth Development is built as the free Hebrew Technical School for Girls, to introduce young immigrant women to academics, millinery, and office work.


Manhattan Comprehensive is founded by Howard Friedman to serve older, undercredited students in a night program to allow them to work during the day. First graduating class: 25 students. Volunteers step in to provide tutoring and college advisement.


Howard Friedman and Brooke Astor, who donated an endowment to refurbish Manhattan Comprehensive’s historic library and pay for its upkeep in perpetuity.


Manhattan Comprehensive adds a day program and begins to admit immigrant English Language Learners, a group that still represent a large proportion of the school’s population.


Volunteers incorporate Comprehensive Development, Inc. as a nonprofit to serve Manhattan Comprehensive students. As a fledgling organization, CDI formalizes services and adds support.


CDI and Manhattan Comprehensive collaborate to design and fund the addition of a sixth floor to the school for science labs.


Ten years after incorporating, Manhattan Comprehensive has become the largest transfer school in the city and CDI is serving 800 students. CDI is awarded its first government contract with Learning to Work, which stabilizes funding and allows us to expand student services.


CDI establishes the Legal Information Clinic to serve immigrant students, and partners with Legal Aid Society and The Door.


We expand college and career services to 1,700 students ages 14-18 at The High School for Health Professions and Human Services.


We expand college and services to 750 students ages 17-21 at City-As-School High School.


We launch the pilot for the Career Academy, an innovative healthcare certificate training program for high school graduates in partnership with JobsFirstNYC and Borough of Manhattan Community College.


We receive a 3-year, $1.6 million grant from the Department of Youth and Community Development for the Career Academy.


2017 Spelling Bee fundraiser

CYD hosts its first annual Spelling Bee for Grownups fundraiser.


CDI and Manhattan Comprehensive partner with NYC to implement the Community Schools model.


CDI becomes Comprehensive Youth Development and celebrates 25 years of service to New York City’s youth! Now serving 3,500 students and alumni annually.


CYD video conference

In 2020-2021, CYD transitioned to fully remote programming and successfully continued to serve students during the pandemic’s 18-month shutdown.


Masked teacher and student working together

NYC Public Schools reopened, and CYD returned to serve students in-person at three partner high schools.