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NYC Fashion Forward to Offer 100 Paid Internships for Summer 2016

Photo: Courtesy of CFDA

Manhattan’s fashion industry is a tough nut to crack, but a new initiative backed by the mayor could make it a little easier for some hopefuls.

The Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA) and the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) on Monday announced the launch of NYC Fashion Forward, a public-private partnership that will create 100 paid internships for local high school and undergraduate college students.

As part of the city’s “Made in NY” suite of fashion initiatives, the chosen interns will gain valuable experience and exposure to the industry at 22 companies (and counting), including Coach, J.Crew, Tommy Hilfiger and Rachel Comey, to name just four. A full list of committed employers can be found on

“Connecting our young people to valuable internship opportunities is not just about creating a career launching pad. NYC Fashion Forward is also shaping a homegrown talent pool that will satisfy the fashion industry’s growing demand for diverse and loyal employees,” Gabrielle Fialkoff, senior advisor to the mayor and director of the mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships, said in a statement. “Together, we can ensure that our young people, our businesses and our city are better prepared to compete in the 21st century economy.”

NYCEDC President Maria Torres-Springer echoed, “In order to further cultivate our city’s robust fashion industry, we must create a pipeline of talent that can build on our already thriving ecosystem.”

For the summer of 2016, NYCEDC will commit to financially back 60 summer jobs that pair participating students with employers that will be able to best offer real-world training and mentorship. According to a statement, the Mayor’s Fund and CFDA will work with large-scale fashion firms across the city to create the remaining 40 employer-funded summer internships.

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“Most fashion careers start with the internship, which offers valuable insights into the industry,” Steven Kolb, president and CEO of the CFDA, continued. “By partnering with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and the New York City Economic Development Corporation, the CFDA can provide high school students and college undergraduates with the opportunity to become tomorrow’s fashion leaders.”

Victor Luis, CEO of Coach, said, “Naturally, we believe in a program that honors the passion and dedication of those who want to pursue careers in the industry from a young age. Creating this kind of professional exposure and opportunity will help them create a bright future in the industry.”

Applications are available through NYC Ladders for Leaders through Apr. 15 and candidates will be placed following a “rigorous” selection process. Successful participants will receive 30 hours of pre-employment training prior to the program, which will kick off in July and last for six weeks. Students will work around 25 hours per week.