City Year

  www.cityyear.org
  www.cityyear.org
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A Soul-Crushing 10 months

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

I worked at City Year full-time (less than an year)

Pros

The students I got to tutor were the only good thing about City Year.

Cons

City Year exploits corps members who are college graduates to the point that it borders on abuse, (While the corps officially boasts of its "diverse corps" consisting of college graduates, high school dropouts, kids taking a year off, etc), the truth is that if you don't feel like working hard (or at all), no one at City Year will force you to do so. There is no such thing as accountability. I found that it often fell to to the college graduates to pick up the slack. There were points when my college grad/college-bound co-workers and I were in the Philadelphia office until 11 at night because each one of us was expected to do the work of 2-3 people. The rest of the team would literally go home and party while we worked. Anyone who complained was called negative and accused of "not being a team player" or "not caring about the children." Which was ridiculous, because the only thing that keeps City Year's hardest workers going are the children in the schools we work in.

Also, because corps members don't have to meet any academic standards before being hired, it is not unusual to see corps members design lesson plans that are factually incorrect. (For example, during my corps year, a group of senior corps members designed a lesson plan about the world's 4 largest religions and the organizers incorrectly said Buddhism came in at number 3. This is incorrect, the answer is Hinduism. When I pointed this out, I was chewed out and told I was being negative.)

Advice to ManagementAdvice

Please get rid of the Scientology-esque culture and weird evangelism. A legendary American political figure had a major surgery during my corps year and all corps members were REQUIRED to sign a get-well card for him. It was just creepy and the only reason we were required to do it was because City Year wanted this particular politician's political support. (As I was signing it, I distinctly remember thinking, "I feel like I'm in North Korea writing a message to the Dear Leader.")

Please require that all incoming corps members take a writing and math test before being hired, It's ridiculous that City Year places 18-24 year olds who can barely read or do math into high schools. (I knew several corps members who couldn't read beyond a 5th grade level (if that), and don't get me started on math comprehension.) How does placing these people in inner-city schools solve the so-called "drop-out crisis?"

Please get a real HR Department that knows how to deal with issues like sexual harassment and homophobia. (There's a lot more that I can say about this, but I'm not sure if it would violate GD's community guidelines.) My team was also not paid on time 5 times and no one at the Philadelphia site apologized, even though human error was to blame.

Please treat your corps members with respect. My project manager was emotionally abusive to us and when it was brought to the attention of management, leadership was more concerned about sweeping the issue under the rug than actually addressing the problem.

Related: Please also give your project managers some managerial training, especially on how to be sensitive to people of non-Abrahamic religions, people of color, and the LGBT community.

Stop expanding. Part of the reason City Year is so insane is because sites set unrealistic recruitment goals. The Philadelphia site literally hires people off of the street to fill their quotas each September. I'd rather have a committed, literate corps of 75-100 young people than a corps of 300 that was mostly composed of dead weight.

Doesn't Recommend
Negative Outlook
Disapproves of CEO

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