Expanding Opportunities for SUNY and CUNY Students

SUNY and CUNY colleges have an integral role to play in ensuring that their graduates can compete for in-demand jobs and have the requisite skills to succeed on day one of their careers. To this end, both public school systems have increased their investment in apprenticeship and internship programs, through which SUNY and CUNY students can apply their classroom learnings in hands-on and real-world settings – a strategy which promotes student job placement outcomes. SUNY and CUNY will expand these offerings, including programs in occupations in high demand across the state, such as mental health professions.

CUNY and SUNY operate six grant programs with a total budget of $35 million.

$4 Million for CUNY Apprenticeship Program

CUNY Apprenticeships is a coordinated effort to embed pre-apprenticeships with local companies within Applied Associates of Sciences (AAS) degree programs, granting participating student degree credits for time spent in the workplace as a pre-apprentice. AAS degree programs are designed to be terminal degrees with direct off-ramps to employment, and include technology, health care, and business pathways. CUNY is well-positioned to leverage resources at its community and comprehensive colleges to expand apprenticeships in emerging, in-demand industries and occupations that can help create stable, professional careers for the university’s students.

Status: Launched in early 2023, this program supports 10 CUNY colleges that are engaged in pre-apprenticeship development as part of their AAS program redesign efforts. Building on apprenticeship work that began previously in partnership with the New York City Jobs CEO Council, the 10 colleges are in different stages of implementation. Some pre-apprenticeships took place in academic year 2023, while others are launching in academic year 2024.

Program Outcomes to Date: On a small scale, integration of pre-apprenticeships has already shown early signs of success in improving job outcomes for AAS graduates, with 88% of students participating in pre-apprenticeships during Spring 2023 being hired following their pre-apprenticeship experience.

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$8 Million for CUNY Internship Program

Through this $8 million program, CUNY is expanding its paid internship and career development programs to provide students with exposure and access to various industries to propel them into careers post-graduation.

The CUNY Spring Forward program places students in their first two years of college into part-time paid internships during the academic year in a range of fields including technology, health care, marketing, and communications. The program provides paid work experience in the students' field of study while allowing students to explore career options before it becomes too late to pivot to a different course of study if they decide that career path is not for them. The CUNY Internship to Employment program places recent graduates and seniors in paid full-time internships with NYC small businesses seeking to fill vacant positions. At the end of the internship, participating businesses can onboard the intern as an employee and receive a wage subsidy for the first five months of employment. The program simultaneously de-risks the talent search and onboarding process for small businesses while giving graduates an opportunity to get their foot in the door of their desired industry.

Status: Launched in February 2023, with the first cohort ending in June 2023. Given the success of the program, this program will continue in FY24.

Program Outcomes to Date:

  • CUNY Spring Forward trained 649 students with 201 business partners, graduating 599 students.
    • 64% of these students were female, and 85% identified as people of color.
  • CUNY Internship to Employment trained 101 students with 58 business partners
    • 40 individuals were hired into full-time employment from CUNY Internship to Employment
  • CUNY’s Internship to Employment also leveraged a $1,322,000 match.

$2 Million CUNY Mental Health Training Program

CUNY will train students to become qualified mental health professionals who will work with individuals in need of prevention, treatment, and recovery services due to behavioral and mental health conditions. The CUNY Mental Health Training program will incentivize minority and multilingual students enrolled at 19 CUNY campuses to enter in or continue paths of study that will prepare them for the mental health field. Three programs will be supported through this $2 million investment:

  1. Internships at Mental Health Facilities, which supports undergraduate and graduate students in mental health-related degree programs through a paid internship;
  2. Diversity Mental Health Scholarships, which provides additional funding to support graduate students from underrepresented backgrounds to complete their clinical and related research experiences required for degrees; and
  3. Innovations in Training Modalities, which supports innovations such as enhanced use of simulation and AI technology which will enhance clinical and field training experience.

Status: Pending

$6 Million for SUNY Apprenticeship Program

This initiative will help expand a highly skilled workforce through registered apprenticeship and pre-apprenticeship programs in all industry sectors beyond construction. Through employer incentives, preparing SUNY students to enter apprenticeships, registered apprenticeship supports programs and business outreach. SUNY and NYSDOL aim to maximize access for participants in high demand, competitive wage occupations throughout New York, while growing engagement of employer and campus partners.

Status: Pending

$12 Million for SUNY Internship Program

Internships are a type of applied learning which has been shown to have a high impact on student success and completion; however, many barriers exist which can prevent student participation in these learning experiences. The $12 million will be allocated to support students in internship opportunities as well as in overcoming barriers including childcare, transportation, tuition support for summer internships, stipends for students with unpaid internships, and development of prior learning assessments which can help students apply current employment to achieving college-level credit. As part of this initiative, the Governor announced the Climate Corps Internship Program, which will offer paid applied-learning opportunities for SUNY students at state agencies with environmental and sustainability missions. In the first year, up to 40 students will be selected for immersive, real-life work experiences for compensation and college credit in research and policy at SUNY and state agencies.

Status: Pending

$3 Million SUNY Mental Health Training Program

SUNY will offer enhanced opportunities for campuses to bolster current mental health training and development programs for students, faculty, and staff. The $3 million in additional programming will provide educational opportunities for students who are interested in pursuing careers in the mental health sector.

Status: Anticipated launch in 2024.