City Year Reviews

Updated June 28, 2015
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City Year CEO Michael Brown
Michael Brown
12 Ratings

Pros
  • Love the idea of the company and you can be touched by the stories from the corps members (in 18 reviews)

  • Truly concerned about personal and professional growth; feel like you are making a difference in students' lives; staff is very supportive (in 7 reviews)

Cons
  • Long hours with unpredictable unpaid overtime (including some weekends) (in 44 reviews)

  • There is also a huge lack of consistency in City Year that breeds a lot of resentment between corps members (in 37 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

36 Employee Reviews

Sort: Popular Rating Date
  1. Corps Member

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Corps Member in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Corps Member in Chicago, IL

    I worked at City Year full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Doesn't Recommend

    Pros

    Like what everyone else said, the work is incredibly rewarding. I really enjoyed working with my students and my teammates. I also had some awesome opportunities to participate as a leader in service days which I really enjoyed. City Year does give you some really practical leadership skills such as prioritizing, leading, facilitating, logistics, and big picture.

    Cons

    Very very very long hours. I would say that unless you are considering the nonprofit/social work/education sector, it's not worth it. There are plenty of other programs out there that do what City Year does but are not as unnecessarily demanding and stressful. Often times, I found myself stuck at work not because we actually had things to do, but because we had to meet our hours and I was literally there for the sake of it which was extremely frustrating. There are also many inefficiencies in the whole system and it's really irritating because upper management says they will be transparent, but there are some things that are so blatantly and obviously wrong to the corps that they are not addressing. Even with some things as simple as, "Why aren't my uniform pieces here?" to who they choose to hire for next year's corps as second year corp members (turning down very qualified CMs for other CMs that aren't as qualified for the sake of diversity). Also, if you are trapped in a school that does not like CY/work well with CY, don't count on upper management to stand up for you. Often times, it felt like the partnership that CY had with the school was more important than their CMs well being. If your school doesn't want you there, that can make for a miserable year where at some point, even though you're doing it for the kids, it's not worth it for you and your own sanity. Lastly, like I said earlier, unless you're going into the nonprofit/social work/education sector, it's not worth doing CY because CY doesn't really help you advance in your career at all. Many companies are unfamiliar with what CY does and the idea of it is so foreign to them that they probably won't even take the time to listen.

    Advice to Management

    Be more transparent with the corps! There are times when we notice so many things and honestly ask about it, and instead of giving us a straight answer, upper management typically shies away from it. Also, CY talks about the long red line and the legacy that we as CMs leave at our schools, but you also need to think about the long red line with your CMs. If you don't treat your CMs well and you don't value them, (for example: standing up for them when administration bullies them even though it may risk the partnership), then you're not doing a good job continuing that long red line among the CMs.


  2. I guess I grew as a person?

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Corp Member in Chattanooga, TN
    Former Employee - Corp Member in Chattanooga, TN

    I worked at City Year (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    You will be working with students 40+ hours a week. If this is the sort of thing you're looking for, you might consider this a plus.
    Daily calisthenics!
    Some of the middle management and fellow corp members were some of the greatest people I've ever met.

    Cons

    Exploitative pay: I was paid less than 200 a week for full time work, (which often turned into 50 hour+ work weeks.)
    Terrible Uniform: Uniform is an unprofessional hodgepodge of Timberland products and a fast food name tag.
    Lack of Training: Much of the time spent before being inserted into a school was spent playing "feelings" games (which, don't get me wrong, have their time and place). I was never taught how to tutor or teach or manage a classroom. This fact was complained about nearly constantly by all corp members, nothing was done to rectify it.
    "Diversity Decisions": Diversity in the workplace is essential, but asking black corp members to move to a different city and serve in a different, predominantly white corp in order to appear more diverse is just offensive.
    Statistics: The corp touts their total number of man hours served in schools as an indication of making a difference, regardless of the actual effect, positive or negative, our presence had.
    Dishonest Recruitment: That we were working in a school was downplayed during the recruitment process. I was told that corp members would spend upwards of 10 hours in the classroom each week, but class time was 90% of the job.
    Incompetent recruitment: Bearing in mind that this is an educational non-profit, I had co-workers who were illiterate, unfamiliar with basic math, completely incapable of communicating in a professional setting, and would inexplicably vomit without warning (that part was kind of weird).
    Creepy Culture: The office culture demanded the use of inane buzzwords, non-words, chants, songs, and other micro-cultural artifacts imported directly from a handbook written by corporate in Boston.


  3. Well intentioned, but Management Problems

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee

    I have been working at City Year full-time

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    Learning experience, work directly in high-need schools

    Cons

    Poor management, poor training, lack of support or positive incentives from staff

    Advice to Management

    Listen to corps members, form trainings around the actual needs of corps members, engage alumni more


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  5. Overworked, Underpaid

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - AmeriCorps Member in San Antonio, TX
    Current Employee - AmeriCorps Member in San Antonio, TX

    I have been working at City Year

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Love the kids you work with

    Cons

    No pay
    Incompetent coworkers and managers


  6. Great for straight out of undergrad, not for 23+

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - City Year Corps Member
    Former Employee - City Year Corps Member

    I worked at City Year full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook

    Pros

    -Get to work with children
    -Some cool leadership opportunities
    -Nice way to see a new city
    -Good (not great) pathway for jobs
    -Becoming MUCH more socially aware
    -service days
    -EXTREMELY important work

    Cons

    -lots of incompetence
    -very wasteful with resources
    -at times, too idealistic
    -as an older corps member, working with recent grads
    -some schools did not respect their corps members
    -(for some) pay was REALLY tough to live off of
    -they preach diversity, but if you think too differently, you will feel shunned
    -LOTS of inexperience is stressful to deal with (i.e. lack of professionalism) amongst other corps members
    -LONG hours

    Advice to Management

    need to be more strict with who they allow to enter an organization that is expected to do such critical work


  7. Sennior Asisstant

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Senior Assistant in San Jose, CA
    Current Employee - Senior Assistant in San Jose, CA

    I have been working at City Year full-time (More than 3 years)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    It's a telecommute job, the people is very friendly and you can use your cellphone at work

    Cons

    They paid in pesos, you have to deal with women, if you want to proggress you have to deal with nepotism

    Advice to Management

    Don't treat your employees as disponsables


  8. Helpful (1)

    Unprofessional + exploitative

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Corps Member
    Former Employee - Corps Member

    I worked at City Year

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    If you have moved to a new city and don't know anyone, this is a great way to make long term friends and all be in a similar financial situation. Establishing rewarding relationships with students is life-changing, and it is a perspective everyone should have in order to advocate for underserved schools and communities.

    Cons

    corps members are often exploited in order to build City Year's face, City Year's organizational structure is an extremely wide spectrum, corps members are often placed in classes that they are not qualified to assist students in, City Year training is often facilitated by team leaders and program managers, neither of which are qualified enough to effectively train corps members to tutor and mentor students. The idea is heroic, the reality of the idea is placing young kids (fresh out of college) in high priority schools with terrible training. Simply being a presence isn't enough for these students and their schools.

    Advice to Management

    increase stipend significantly, train corps members heavily, let corps members evaluate experiences, their PMs, and TLs on a monthly basis, make corps members take more "tests" before being accepted so they are placed in classes that they are most likely to effectively tutor students in.


  9. Helpful (2)

    Motivation drained by bureaucracy

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Corps Member in Los Angeles, CA
    Current Employee - Corps Member in Los Angeles, CA

    I have been working at City Year full-time (Less than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Little tiny glimmers of joy from interactions with students from diverse stories and backgrounds. Bonding with others on the team with how much we are struggling to balance life.

    Cons

    Everything else. This org has potential to have a really genuinely positive image and mission but it is blatantly clear that the biggest concern is image and maintaining numbers. Everything is image centered. I learned more about City Year's image in basic training than I did anything useful to help me help myself during service. You're paid next to nothing to do 10x the work of any teacher. If I ever have to fill out another document that I end up throwing way with pointless data and unrealistic goals I will go crazy. Extremely poor communication, weak support system, lack of accountability, and inhumane work hours. This shouldn't be called service if you prevent us from serving positively by sucking us of energy and draining our morale. At least with peace corps you actually get to do more without bureaucracy and image getting in the way.

    Advice to Management

    Focus your priorities. Be realistic. We are human. We have to take care of ourselves to take care of others. Students first? No, me first, then students. I must be at my best to serve my best.


  10. Helpful (2)

    Corps member

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Corps Member in New York, NY
    Current Employee - Corps Member in New York, NY

    I have been working at City Year

    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    The children. You have the ability to meet a lot of wonderful individuals. The staff at the school was also very nice. Lots of responsibility given to you.

    Cons

    The pay. The long hours. The cult like syndrome. Brainwashing. If your different you will not be encouraged

    Advice to Management

    Appreciate the uniqueness of all your corps members. Dont try to make everyone conform. This is not the us marine corp. Its the least you can do if you are going to be exploiting these gifted youth for 3 dollars an hour!


  11. Helpful (2)

    Great impact, frustrating bureacracy snd politics

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Program Manager
    Former Employee - Program Manager

    I worked at City Year full-time (More than a year)

    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO
    Doesn't Recommend
    Positive Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    You get to work in a sector that had a profound impact on peoples lives and a chance to take on significant responsibility.

    Cons

    The environment can be very gossipy and toxic. People are constantly positioning themselves for promotions and egos can get in the way of doing whats best for students.

    Advice to Management

    Focus on creating a stronger culture for staff and provide better training and support for staff to do their work.



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