By Arva Rice, President and CEO of the New York Urban League
Dear Young Professional Community,
I cannot think of a better time of year to begin my new column in The Griot than during the winter holidays. It is usually during this time we all pause to thank those who’ve given of themselves, who have contributed to their communities and helped us achieve our goals. The Young Professionals have been critical to the success of the affiliate this year. So on behalf of the staff, NYUL Board, and the community we serve – thank you!
I look forward to being able to share with you some of the work of the New York Urban League and how you can be engaged. In 2013, we served 1,800 students through our Absolute Success College Access Program, launched a well-regarded pilot of our new STEM Summer Academy, and implemented a Retail Certification program to increase the credentials of job seekers. The summer pilot of our STEM academies named NEXT Academy, reinforced our belief that STEM education challenges how students think. A cohort of rising high school freshmen participated in a 6 week intensive to learn how to code using JAVA, explore careers in STEM, have one-on-one sessions with young technology professionals, and attend site visits to Google, Etsy, Microsoft, L’Oreal, and Time Warner Cable.
Most recently, the Young Professionals co-sponsored our enormously successful Historically Black College and University Fair. Over 1,900 students and parents participated in panels, workshops and a mid-day step show performance that gave a glimpse into college life. Our YPs were there organizing and speaking on panels, registering students, directing social media and managing the huge crowd.
In first quarter 2014, the affiliate will expand our new Science Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Initiative, host our Annual Empowerment Days, launch our new website, and support your State of Young Black New York (SOYBNY) conference. YP members have joined our Education Policy Committee and will travel with us to Albany for the Black, Puerto Rican and Asian Legislative Caucus Weekend in February. The Communications Committee is partnering with us on our Empowerment Days in March where over 200 young people visit corporations throughout the city to find out about careers.
As 2013 draws to a close, we look forward to deepening and enriching the partnership with YP with around these efforts and more.
About the Author, Arva Rice
Arva Rice is President & CEO of the New York Urban League (NYUL) an organization whose mission is to enable African Americans and other underserved communities to secure a first class education, economic self-reliance and equal respect of their civil rights through programs, services and advocacy. Prior to joining NYUL, she served as the Executive Director of Project Enterprise, an organization that provides business loans, technical assistance and peer support to New York City entrepreneurs. Arva was selected by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, a national foundation that develops solutions to build a brighter future for children, as one of 16 leaders from across the country for its 2013-2014 Children and Family Fellows.