Program Harnesses Home-Grown Talent to Develop Next Generation Workforce
The Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) and the City University of New York (CUNY) today celebrated an internship program partnership that connects CUNY students from across all 25 campuses with paid internship opportunities at the MTA at both the undergraduate and graduate level. The program bridges the nation’s largest transportation network with the nation’s largest urban public university to build on each other’s initiatives while supporting equity, diversity and social mobility. The program received 16,216 applications for just 150 slots in its first year, last summer.
Earlier this month, 128 positions were listed for the summer program which run for approximately eight weeks and are full-time. A second application period opens in the fall on a part-time basis. In some cases, students who participate in the full-time positions during the summer are able to transition to a part-time status once the school year begins. Students working full time are eligible to receive benefits, including medical, through Research Foundation CUNY. There are currently 84 interns wrapping up their internship with the MTA, marking the program’s first full year.
“I have always believed that the MTA and other New York institutions need to focus on attracting talent from incredible public schools and colleges,” said MTA Chair and CEO Janno Lieber. “When I became the Chair, this partnership with CUNY was one my first initiatives and I’m thrilled about how it’s worked out.”
“CUNY is pleased to partner with the MTA in this internship program, which gives our students the opportunity to explore pathways across the MTA’s broad network,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez. “These paid, impactful internships allow students to learn meaningful skills and gain real-world experience that the job market requires. Both CUNY and the MTA are part of the fabric of New York City, and we are proud to support the city’s workforce while giving our students the tools they need to focus on their academics and connect their studies to their future careers.”
“It’s important for us as an employer and leaders in the transportation industry to provide opportunities and support the development of the next generation of talent from all backgrounds,” said MTA Chief Administrative Officer Lisette Camilo. “One of the MTA’s core values is equity and that doesn’t just apply to the transit service we provide. This partnership is a great way to connect everyday New Yorkers with the transit system that keeps their city moving while shaping them for their future and that of the MTA’s.”
Internships are available across all MTA agencies: NYC Transit Subways, Buses, Long Island Rail Road, Metro-North, Construction & Development, and Bridges and Tunnel with openings in fields such as legal, finance, architecture, technology, project management, environmental science, engineering, real estate, station operations, safety, transportation and communications.
CUNY’s extensive reach with colleges in all boroughs and a vast portfolio of programs provides the MTA a diverse pool of talent to select from while providing New York City students the opportunity to gain valuable hands-on experience with North America’s largest transportation network, that serves a population of over 15.3 million. The initiative is funded by MTA and the students are employed through RF CUNY.
“From day one, my managers became my mentors, they taught me the fundamental skills that are needed to thrive in a professional environment,” said MTA Safety Analyst Connie Yang. “They also helped introduce me to different facets of operation and that really helped me figure out what my interests were, and to also identify my strengths and weaknesses. Overall, this internship was such a learning experience. I believe it was a significant turning point in my career, and it was a stepping stone that led me to where I am now.”
Connie Yang is on track to graduate this May from Baruch College with a bachelor's degree in human resources management. She was an intern for the Long Island Rail Road (LIRR) Operational Support Group from July 2022 to March 2023, and is now a full-time employee working in the Safety Management Office at MTA Headquarters.
“After my time in the army, my first child was born and I wanted to be a great example for him by continuing to grow my education and career,” said LIRR Program Management Intern Javier Inga. “I chose CUNY to pursue my education because of its high academic standard, excellent engineering program, low tuition costs, available scholarships, and various internship opportunities. CUNY helped me obtain an internship at the MTA and I feel confident that the MTA will provide me with the resources and mentors to grow/develop where I can, to make an impact on my career and the community.”
Javier Inga is currently an LIRR Program Management intern, closing in on his 48-week internship, who earned his degree last spring in Construction Engineering Technology from New York City College of Technology. Prior to pursuing his degree, Javier served in the New York Army National Guard for six years and the U.S. Army for 6 years.
The City University of New York is the nation’s largest urban public university, a transformative engine of social mobility that is a critical component of the lifeblood of New York City. Founded in 1847 as the nation’s first free public institution of higher education, CUNY today has seven community colleges, 11 senior colleges and seven graduate or professional institutions spread across New York City’s five boroughs, serving over 243,000 undergraduate and graduate students and awarding 55,000 degrees each year. CUNY’s mix of quality and affordability propels almost six times as many low-income students into the middle class and beyond as all the Ivy League colleges combined. More than 80 percent of the University’s graduates stay in New York, contributing to all aspects of the city’s economic, civic and cultural life and diversifying the city’s workforce in every sector. CUNY’s graduates and faculty have received many prestigious honors, including 13 Nobel Prizes and 26 MacArthur “Genius” Grants. The University’s historic mission continues to this day: provide a first-rate public education to all students, regardless of means or background.