City Year Reviews

Updated June 28, 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

271 Employee Reviews

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  1. 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


  2. 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!!


  3. 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.


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  5. 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.


  6. 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.


  7. 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.


  8. 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.


  9. Best Job I have ever Had

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

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

    Recommends
    Positive Outlook
    Recommends
    Positive Outlook

    Pros

    Mission driven. Great systems. Growth Oriented. Data Driven. Impactful

    Cons

    High Staff Turnover. If you are not good at "managing up", you may struggle.


  10. Helpful (1)

    Long hours, rewarding work but really ineffective management

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

    I worked at City Year full-time

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

    Pros

    -Really rewarding work. You really feel like you make an impact every single day, so you sleep pretty well at night if that's something you're worried about

    Cons

    really long hours, poor pay, and ineffective management. most managers have just started entering their professional lives and they do a horrible job at responding to feedback and creating a positive work culture. makes you really regret working for them, trick is to pay attention to the wider impact. also, they are terrible at responding to stress. terrible.

    Advice to Management

    HIRE HUMAN RESOURCES PROFESSIONALS. city year is a national, international non-profit that can certainly afford to invest a little more in creating a more positive working environment.


  11. Helpful (1)

    A Very Exclusive Inclusive Organization

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

    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

    - I had an AMAZING team and team leaders. They were all so supportive and passionate about their jobs, it made coming to work easier
    - You make really great relationships with students and your partner teacher
    - I learned a lot about the public education system you can only get from being in the middle of it
    - Most of the school staff at my school really respected the corps members and recognized the hard work we put in.

    Cons

    - People tell you City Year is a cult. This is not a joke. They have a handbook they constantly quote and pull stories from, have created their own culture, and have created myths surronding the founding of the organization. Many people who leave the organization after their service are either cynical of the organization or they are unable to healthily leave it behind them.

    - Due to the high emotional demand and stress from the job, I fell into a depression second semester. Although management noticed this, they did not offer any help and instead told me I was being apathetic and selfish

    - Any criticism to the organization's culture will be dismissed. When I brought up things that did not align with my values or who I was as a person, I was told I had a fixed mind set and I had to suck it up because everything was "for the kids"

    - This is not a good organization for people who very introverted and do not like doing over the top silly things. I really enjoy working with people and being on a team, but I also REALLY need space to express individuality. City Year did not give me this space at all. I also have anxiety, and doing things such as competitions or dancing in public makes my anxiety worse. City Year tells you to these things no matter how uncomfortable they make you because it proves you have a growth mindset, but many times this year I was pushed past my comfort zone into more of a panic-attack-humilation-zone.

    - This is a very exclusive inclusive organiztion. City Year prides itself on being "inclusive," and in order to appear tat way they need a certain persona to give on the air inclusivity. Anyone who wasnot constantly joyful, idealistic, and silly was not seen as a model corps member.

    - City Year also says they are very transparent, when they are not. Many of our questions went unanswered. One question that was huge at the beginning of the year was "Do teachers ask for corps members to be in the classoom or are we forced into their classrooms?" We asked this question multiple times, and every time they beat around the bush and never answered. I had to ask my partner teacher if teachers got to choose having a corps member in their classroom. The answer is no. Many teachers do not want an additional adult in their classroom, because they have to change the structure of their classroom and sometimes it can be more work on their part.

    - The fundraising for the organization makes me uncomfortable. City Year sites have one big fundraising event a year, where they receive donations from the private sector. For the gala, two of my close friends got to speak about their experience as corps members, but it was obvious they were handed a script and told what to say. I knew what they were saying on stage was very unauthentic and choreographed to get more money, and they just wanted pretty diverse faces to say the things the donators wanted to hear.

    - City Year picks favorites. From the beginning of the year, the staff have already picked out who they want to be next years team leaders and second years and give them more oppurutnies and mentorship to make sure they will apply to the position and get in when they apply. When internviews were done, many who were very interested and qualified for the posotion were rejected, because they were not a favorites. Then, the favorites who didn't apply were sought out and encouraged to apply by management to fill the empty spots others would have happily filled.

    Advice to Management

    Focus more on the students and less on upholding your "culture." Its cute at first, but by the middle of the year I found trying to keep up with the organzations standards seriously impeded my work with my students, and it hurt in the long run. Also, provide more support for corps members who go through depression or emotional draining throughout the year instead of criticizing them.



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