A select group of young New Yorkers will have a fashion-filled summer giving them a first hand look at what it takes to thrive in the growing fashion industry.

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) announced Monday the launch of the NYC Fashion Forward initiative — which will give students access to the fashion industry through paid internships.

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As part of the initiative, 100 city high school and undergraduate college students will be connected this summer to internships at fashion companies throughout the city.

“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,” said Gabrielle Fialkoff, senior advisor to the Mayor and director of the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships. “Together, we can ensure that our young people, our businesses and our city are better prepared to compete in the 21st century economy.”

NYCEDC will financially back 60 of the summer jobs while the Mayor’s Fund and CFDA will work with prominent, large-scale fashion firms to create the remaining 40 internships.

Students will be selected from the NYC Ladders for Leaders program, which allows city students the chance to participate in paid summer internships with leading large and also small businesses, nonprofits, and government agencies.

Once selected, each student will receive 30 hours of pre-employment training and begin their internship in July. The internship will then last for six weeks and each student will work about 25 hours per week. 

The NYC Fashion Forward initiative is part of the NYC Center for Youth Employment’s efforts to offer young talent the chance to work in the city’s industries.

"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," said Maria Torres-Springer, president of NYCEDC. "NYC Fashion Forward helps nurture the next generation of designers, manufacturers, and fashion professionals, helping to ensure that New York City remains the fashion capital of the world."

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So far a total of 22 companies have committed to offering paid internships. These companies include, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alice + Olivia, CFDA, Coach, David Wolfson & Associates, Inc., Design Incubator Inc., Designers & Agents, Diane von Furstenberg, J. Crew, Haskell Jewels LLC, K/ILLER COLLECTION, Kate Spade & Company, Krupp Group, Lulu Frost, Maison De Mode, Melissa Joy Manning, New York Embroidery Studio, Nicholas K, Opening Ceremony, Rachel Comey, Timo Weiland, and Tommy Hilfiger.

"Coach was founded on the principles of design innovation and know-how that come from the diligent pursuit of craft,” said Victor Luis, CEO of Coach, Inc. “So 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."