City Year Reviews

Updated July 2, 2015
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3.6
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City Year CEO Michael Brown
Michael Brown
130 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

274 Employee Reviews

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  1. City Year Corps Member

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    Former Employee - Literacy Teacher in Tacoma, WA
    Former Employee - Literacy Teacher in Tacoma, WA

    I worked at City Year

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    City Year is definitely challenging especially if you are relocating however the people you meet and the children you will interact with are the best!

    Cons

    I think the primary con is the small stipend and the amount of assistance that you get in finding housing.

    Advice to Management

    My advice would be for some of the Corps Members who have previously served to provide information regarding transit, housing, and general lifestyle information to present corps members


  2. Great Work for No Money

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

    I worked at City Year full-time

    Pros

    - work that makes you feel like you're making a difference
    - if you need a year off or want to go into non profit it's a good place to start

    Cons

    - no/little pay
    - can be very political
    - sometime you have to deal with a negative reaction ship between city year and schools/teachers/admin
    - not going to help you advance career-wise

    Advice to Management

    focus more on LACY especially for those who committed two year to CY


  3. Corps Member

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Qualifies you to work anywhere after service year ends

    Cons

    Living on a stipend and being away from family

    Advice to Management

    Make better happen!!


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  5. Challenging but worth it

    Former Employee - Corps Member in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Corps Member in Chicago, IL

    I worked at City Year (Less than a year)

    Positive Outlook
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Work worth doing in neighborhoods where the work is needed. Life affirming and challenging for a full time position.

    Cons

    Pay is terrible but it is a volunteer position so know that going in. Commute is not a factor in placement. 10 to 12 hours day.


  6. Great leadership development program

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

    I worked at City Year

    Approves of CEO
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    There is great professional development opportunities. You get to network a lot. As a corps member, you get to wear multiple hats. It's meaningful work you are doing in the community and school you are serving in.

    Cons

    You work long hours with little pay. However, it is technically a volunteer position. The community and schools may know little about City Year.


  7. Challenging for the Wrong Reasons.

    • 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

    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    - Gave me direction regarding my career path and helped me see what I was truly passionate about.
    - The kids I worked with were incredible, and it's extremely rewarding to experience the relationship development that happens between the corps members and the students.
    - Diverse work experience (by the end of your year, you have tangible experience in event planning, tutoring, conflict resolution, and task delegation/management, among many other things).
    - Good for networking (however, this is really only true if you're planning on going into the education, social work, or nonprofit field).

    Cons

    - Absolutely insane hours. How many hours you work is completely out of your control - many times you're unnecessarily kept at work for the sake of meeting the hours requirement, not because you have real work to do. I typically left my apartment at 5:45 and didn't get home until 8-8:30 (my commute was an hour in the mornings and an hour and 45 minutes at night).

    - Upper management doesn't take necessary preventative steps regarding CM safety in the neighborhoods CY works in. Because where you live in the city isn't taken into account when placing you at a school, you may be the only one, or one of the only ones, commuting to your school a particular way (assuming you take public transit). I was one of two people on my team that took a particular bus to my school (we were the only two commuting from similar areas), which meant if the other person was late, sick, or got a ride to work, I rode the bus and walked the six blocks to my school alone. Nothing worth noting ever happened to me, but the potential was very real.

    - The 'leadership development' aspect of CY is highly frustrating for those who need less leadership development than others. At the beginning of the year, CY rolls out their expectations of their CM's as well as the consequences for when those expectations aren't met. However, these are rarely enforced. I had a teammate who would sleep under tables (in front of students) during work hours, and frequently fell asleep during school staff meetings, and another who was late nearly everyday. Upper management knew about these things, but very little action was taken. A lot of hand-holding happens for people who underperform, which is extremely frustrating for those who do perform and meet expectations.

    - Those who aren't big on "City Year Culture" are made to feel like they aren't as worthy as CM's who are. I'm not big into cheering or the more kitschy aspects of CY culture. I can appreciate them, but I didn't love participating or leading out on them. Many times, it felt like management highly favored those who were louder and more outgoing when it came to those things; as if it meant they were more dedicated or better at their jobs than those who were more introverted about the culture, which is simply not the case.

    Advice to Management

    - Figure out a more effective system of placing CM's at schools.
    - Feedback should be given to management more frequently (perhaps through anonymous online surveys).
    - Standards should be enforced to all corps members equally.


  8. Worth it for the kids

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

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

    No opinion of CEO
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    Ability to work and support students in low performing schools
    Opportunity to network and work on career development

    Cons

    Lots of "culture pieces" were annoying and seemed to try too hard
    Things felt disingenuous at times and the need to have reflection all the time was overwhelming


  9. 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.


  10. Great experience, but tough work

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

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

    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO
    Recommends
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    I worked as a Corps Member so the pros were that they have loan deferment, access to Food Share, and a city buss pass. It is also a pro that it can be used as a great networking tool, since City Year is kind of like a fraternal organization. Your experience at CY is really what you put into it, and your attitude. I'm not going to lie, you will have to put up with a lot of BS, (after all they are just like any other organization in that they want money and notoriety) but with that being said, it can prepare you to work in almost any environment outside of City Year. At CYMKE they have trainings every Fridays and some of the trainings will seem like a waste of time, but some are really useful, so try to make the best of it. They are big on reflection, and you will most certainly learn a lot about yourself. and most importantly, you will fall in love with your kids no matter what school you are placed in!!!

    Cons

    Long hours. I worked on a minimum of 11 hours a day mon-thurs. (Fridays are training days so we weren't in school) and sometimes would work up to 14 hours when we would have events and also we would have to work weekends sometimes. You also will need to take work home with you so you can finish your weekly session plans. The pay SUCKS. it's a stipend that when you do the math, you are making about $4 an hour (which is less than half the minimum wage in Wisconsin) and of course there is no overtime pay. City Year culture is STRONG, and it takes a while before you can get use to it. Also, they are vey big on teamwork and team building, which if you are an independent worker like me, can be annoying. Another thing to note is that the Corps Members will come from all over the US, so they usually end up rooming together (it's kind of like study abroad for them). So with that, it can seem like high school at times and people gossip like there's no tomorrow. As a Corps Member your experience in school will depend on your Team and your Team Leader. At times it WILL feel like City Year is taking over your whole life, so make sure you are doing whatever you need to do to re-energize yourself so you can be the best CM for your students!

    Advice to Management

    Be more on top of getting uniforms in on time. Have better Wifi in schools. Put more time into teaching CMs your CY strategies, so they can have more effective session plans. Stop with the "self-care time" where we sit around and do nothing for an hour. instead plan classes like yoga, salsa, or art where we can actually do and learn something. take into consideration where people live and if they have access to a car. Don't place CMs at schools where they have to take the bus for 2 hours, because that is really unfair.


  11. City Year

    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - City Year Corps Member in Seattle, WA
    Current Employee - City Year Corps Member in Seattle, WA

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Approves of CEO

    Pros

    Good networking, professional development, and opportunities to help people in need.

    Cons

    Rigid structure or management, strict uniform rules.



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