Preparing High School Students for Today’s Workforce

Terry CarrollTerry Carroll, CYD’s new Director of Workforce

In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, one of the many changes affecting CYD and our students has been the growing urgency of workforce development for young people. “This is a crucial moment,” CYD Executive Director Michael Roberts observed. “The pandemic has exposed and expanded the inequities in our labor market. Young adults and people of color were hit especially hard by unemployment. And we know that these effects are likely to last for the next two to four years. If we can provide expanded options to students in high school, they will gain the skill sets they need to connect to employment in this economy, in which the greatest demand is for skilled workers. Jobs after high school can lattice into college education and create career paths for our students.”

CYD has been a leader in youth workforce development over the past ten years. In 2013, we launched the CYD Career Academy, which prepares high school graduates for healthcare certification in partnership with Borough of Manhattan Community College’s Center for Continuing Education and Workforce Preparation. What we’ve learned is that skills-based training and development in high school are essential to prepare students for these postsecondary opportunities. With the support of the Aronson Family Foundation, CYD has been able to add dedicated staff: an employment coordinator and a career advisor.

Medical Assistants in classMedical Assistants in training at the CYD Career Academy

Our current priority is to braid all our best practices together so that students are prepared and have options and direction in their postsecondary planning. To help us meet that goal, we’ve hired a Director of Workforce to oversee and tie together all of our programming. Roberts said, “I’m delighted that Terry Carroll has joined us in this position, and grateful to the Pinkerton Foundation for funding it.”

Carroll has an extensive background in workforce program management, research, data-informed technical assistance, and employer partnerships. Previously he was the National Program Officer of workforce development at Local Initiatives Support Corporation. Carroll will integrate CYD programs, overseeing our workforce staff at five sites, and working with our college and career advisors to align their work with training programs, including the CYD Career Academy. “My goal at CYD is to expand our students’ alternatives to college options, provide connections to a wide variety of skills-based training opportunities, and deepen our work within our partner high schools. This means working closely with school administrators to expose students earlier to career options, work readiness, and financial and technological literacy essential for success in a postsecondary life. I look forward to contributing to the development of a well-skilled workforce as CYD’s work in this field evolves.”

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