Location:  New York, NY
United States
Project Description: 

LinkNYC provides the skills, experience, connections, and planning necessary for a young person to develop a career in the growing field of digital media and communications. Our multi-faceted approach is innovative in that it addresses career barriers disproportionately affecting low-income youth, including lack of training, networks, and college preparedness. Link NYC engages professional artists and mentors that are industry leaders, using current technologies with cutting-edge knowledge of the field, to teach skills, abilities, and behaviors necessary for a career in the field of media and communications.   All participating students are African American and/or  Latino and attend high schools in under-resourced communities, such as Central Harlem, a community ranked 47th out of 59 Districts by the Citizen’s Committee for Children’s 2015 “Risk Ranking” report.  

In its inaugural year, Link NYC served 35 students from three high schools for 40 hours of programming over one semester. With a grant of $50,000 from AllianzNA, YANY will expand our current program to double the number of students served in the coming year - from 35 students to 70 students - while also lengthening the program from one semester to a full academic year giving more students the opportunity to deepen knowledge of the education, experience, skills and connections needed for their career development in the digital media sector. The expanded program will continue to grow to ultimately serve each student from 10th grade through high school graduation. In this model, students will benefit from 80 hours of digital media skill building per year, with YANY artists and corporate mentors from Facebook, AMC Networks, Now This Media, and Turner Broadcasting, as they work to complete “real world” assignments including short videos, news stories and advertisements. 

LinkNYC is positioned to offer a creative solution to the issue of young people in poverty not transitioning to college and career successfully.  Research from the Center for An Urban Future finds that the biggest job growth area in NYC is the creative sector where employment has increased ten-fold since 2005. In particular, the field of digital media continues to offer a strong, entry-level market for young adults in the City.   Unfortunately, while the field seeks employee diversification, many minority young people who are interested in the future of digital media have little understanding of and preparation for a viable career in the industry. LinkNYC bridges this gap by offering participants: 
-80 hours of skill development with professional artists and industry leaders each year
-8-10 visits to industry leading corporations including Facebook, Now this Media, and AMC Networks
-College advisement 
-Completion of Individual Student Portfolios & College/Career planning guides
-Culminating Networking & Showcase Event
-Ongoing skill building "boot camps" taught by Industry Professionals beyond the 80 hours of class time

LinkNYC focuses on skill development in the field of digital media including the design process, documentation, budgeting, teamwork, communication skills (written and verbal), interpersonal skills,  and knowledge of current landscape of the industry. Program participants receive immersion in digital media and communications through hands-on projects and portfolio creation.  Collectively, these help a young person enrolled in LinkNYC begin to chart a career path BEFORE he or she graduates from high school. Each participant will complete both individual and small group projects and will receive "real world of work" incentives for project completion including- job shadowing of mentors at Facebook or AMC Networks for an entire day, learning on higher tech equipment only available at industry leading corporations, award ceremonies and media festival attendance. 

Young Audiences New York will continue to create a strong pathway for high school students of color to build their paths to college and career through the evaluation of participant impact.  We will track four key outcomes, all indicators of future success: 1) Increase in development of digital media skills; 2) Increase in development of life skills, including self-efficacy, problem solving, communication, and collaboration; 3) Increase awareness and hope for possible future outcomes, and 4) Increase participant experience of successful exercise of agency