For some students it’s tough to find jobs after graduation. Lucy Pichardo graduated May 2013. After two semesters at the marketing and communications firm Young & Rubican as an account management intern she was on her own. But then she received a break. “I was looking for jobs; it was tough,” Pichardo says. “But after a year, Professor Appelbaum [program director of ad/pr at CCNY] sent me an email about a new pilot program for ad/pr grads.”
She acted right away. “I figured since I wasn’t doing anything, I have nothing to lose,” she says.
Pichardo is now part of a new program called The CO•OP which was founded this fall by Kalani Leifer. The program’s main focus: to bridge the gap between the college to career path and connect students with meaningful careers in New York across the country.
Leifer understands that the path to employment can be uncertain. “We know in New York and across the country a lot of the folks graduating with a bachelor’s degree in particular from urban colleges and public schools are not getting the opportunities they deserve,” says Leifer, a former high school history teacher, education consultant and project leader at Google.
Graduating from Lehman College with a MA in education, he knew exactly who to partner with to find talent. Professor Appelbaum says she’s glad he reached out to CCNY. “Between his credentials his vision and the understanding of what it takes to help our student population be successful, I felt he could add value to what we’re already doing to help students succeed in the program,” says Appelbaum.
The program combines an academic foundation and hands-on projects with four weeks of training plus 12 weeks of work and mentorship at a digital ad agency. The mission is to provide participants with tech skills and a leg up on the competition. They also learn basic interview and interpersonal skills and combine traditional advertising techniques with what they’re learning in digital. “We’re using our prior education to help make the program a reality,” says Pichardo. “The program helps its students come out of it fully prepared to finally begin their careers.”
What are the apprenticeships like? “We have a student in e-commerce, another in SEO [search engine optimization], another person doing events and then we have a couple nonprofits set up,” Pichardo explains. “The rest of us are waiting to get placed.”
The bottom line, though is, “to connect students with meaningful careers,” says Leifer.
The program ends in December with a second session starting January 20th. For those who want to apply applications are due November 14.