City Year Reviews | Glassdoor

City Year Reviews

Updated September 20, 2017
809 reviews

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3.6
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City Year CEO Michael Brown
Michael Brown
327 Ratings

809 Employee Reviews

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Pros
Cons
  • Long hours, not enough pay or sick days (in 230 reviews)

  • Work life balance is only available if you work hard at it (in 53 reviews)

More Pros and Cons

  1. Helpful (5)

    "Warning: City Year is Not what it Looks Like"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Corps Member in Cleveland, OH
    Former Employee - Corps Member in Cleveland, OH
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    If you are passionate about community service and working with youth and don't mind sitting around for hours on end doing nothing or a frustrating workplace.

    Cons

    If you have a problem upper management will turn it around on you. Basically, there is nothing wrong with City Year, the problem is you. Time is not managed well at all. Expect to find yourself with nothing to do for hours on end. No one cares if the other people on your team do nothing; a lazy work ethic is considered "diversity" there. Whatever happened to Americorps:Getting things done? Also, the pay is incredibly poor but you do get an education award.

    Advice to Management

    Accept the fact that the problem is with the organization NOT your employees. Only then will you ever be able to accomplish anything worthwhile.


  2. Helpful (8)

    "City Year: The Worst Year of Your Life"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Corps Member in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - Corps Member in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

    Pros

    The best reasons to work for City Year are 1) a job experience that will allow you to get any job you'd like when you're done, and 2) the education award.

    Cons

    1) 50+ hour work weeks with little to no time off permitted at less than $4/hour
    2) Very poor health insurance
    3) Total structural disorganization
    4) Poor leadership
    5) Blurry goals and vision
    6) Dissonance between the ideals of the organization and the treatment of its workers

    Advice to Management

    Treat City Year corps members as successful human beings and not as ignorant children.

  3. Helpful (4)

    "Can we say favoritism and lack of respect, pay, etc..."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Boston, MA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Disapproves of CEO

    Pros

    You meet incredible people who are committed to their work.

    Cons

    - Lack of respect
    - Major favoritism by all senior leadership
    - Promotions based on favoritism
    - Lack of pay comparable to other organizations
    - Breed a culture of work--holics... if you don't stay till a certain time each night and respond to every email on your blackberry when you are home, you are obviously not working as hard as others.
    - Make it very difficult to have a personal life, take time off or any sort of vacation without trying to make you feel guilty about it or that you offer to check email even while you are away.


  4. Helpful (5)

    "Not at all what was marketed"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • 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
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    It can make you feel like you're doing "good". It's certainly self-congratulatory enough

    Cons

    Pay, long hours, making minimal impact and maybe even doing more harm than good, very limited options to move on after

    Advice to Management

    Be more honest about what people are REALLY signing up for. Don't just care about the business clients, you also have to worry about your corps.


  5. Helpful (4)

    "suffocating, embarrassing, inept, non-profit more interested in image than results"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Corps Member
    Current Employee - Corps Member
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    Disapproves of CEO

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

    Pros

    You gain school/teaching experience, but in a manner that has you feeling you're on the outside looking in.

    Cons

    City Year is ridiculous. They go out of their way to hire "diverse" people, at the cost of results and efficacy. High school grads still wet behind the ears, directionless college drop outs, and college grads with no prospects. They'll hire people who can barely read or write, let alone who should be around children. They hire drug addicts, alcoholics, hateful and downright abusive individuals. Reports of drug and alcohol use AT THE SCHOOL, DURING THE SERVICE DAY are punished with a slap on the wrist. City Year, rather than trying to hire people who will better the schools (or the kids, apparently whom it's all about), cares more about the numbers of "diverse" (cough*inept) people rather than actual results. This is par for the course though. If you notice, City Year very rarely can prove that corps members are actually effective at raising scores or preventing drop-outs. Rather, they just report on the sheer number of hours served, and very dubious stats that are not actually due to CM interventions or service.

    We are poorly hired, poorly trained, poorly treated, poorly managed, and largely ineffective. I really regret spending this year with City Year. I wish I had looked into literally ANY other in-school service program, rather than trusting that City Year was a good organization.


  6. Helpful (6)

    "City Year has so much potential, but fails miserably to follow through."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Corps Member in Detroit, MI
    Current Employee - Corps Member in Detroit, MI
    Doesn't Recommend
    Negative Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    1) Working with and mentoring kids is a special experience.

    2) The Corps Members themselves are very cool and interesting (about 80% are cool and the other 20% are CRAZY and incompetent).

    Cons

    1) The City Year superiors (Team Leaders, Program Managers, Program Directors) have proven to be largely incompetent. They make decisions in a very dictatorial fashion, focusing on growth and numbers and ignoring the needs of Corps members.

    2)You follow students in classes all day, but oftentimes teachers teach for the entire class period; this means that whole class periods are spent doing nothing. There is a severe lack of productivity during the day, even though work days are upwards of 10 hours each day.

    3) It is extremely stressful and often it feels futile to work in such horrible schools. The teachers and administration are often inept, and Corps Members have little power at the end of the day. Corps Members are forced to prop up support for these horrible schools. Sometimes, the only work we can do is have kids do missing assignments for full credit. This promotes bad work habits, and this isn't tutoring. This emphasis on just getting kids to do their work does little to curb the poor education that students receive.

    4) City Year as an organization does little to support Corps Members. Training days happen upwards of once a week, and are frustratingly useless.

    5) The data-driven approach is faulty and borderline corrupt. There is no data to understand City Year's impact on students once these students no longer have City Year to help them. In other words, City Year is so focused on short term success, that longterm success is totally ignored.

    6) The culture of City Year is tacky and childish. The organization pontificates about professionalism, but promotes a culture that discourages any sense of professionalism. Management sits on their phones during trainings and doesn't uphold the same uniform standards as Corps Members.

    Advice to Management

    -Hire more competent managers.
    -Seek data to see the longterm impact of City Year impact.
    -Focus on quality, not quantity.


  7. Helpful (2)

    "Great mission, not executed well."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Corps Member in San Jose, CA
    Current Employee - Corps Member in San Jose, CA
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    Working with other idealistic young people. Getting to choose any site in the country to apply to.

    Cons

    We only tutor each student for 15 minutes a day which makes it very difficult to make an impact. We work 11 hour days but do not have 11 hours of work to do so the company is very inefficient. There is a general disrespect of corps members and their time and we are treated like children. There are very strict rules such as not being able to drink with any employee not on the same level as you. The higher person needs to leave if they even so much as see you at a bar. The City Year way to communicate is to do so indirectly. They is a lot of general statements made instead of actually addressing the issue. Upper staff is very passive aggressive in this way as well. A lot of after hours events that come up (yes after already working 11 hour days). They ask for feedback but don't really want to change anything.

    Advice to Management

    Treat us like adults and respect our time. Revamp the program so it actually helps the children.

  8. Helpful (4)

    "Carefully packaged white guilt, privilege & idealism claiming 2 "Save the World" 1 culturally diverse photo op at a time"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - City Year Corps Member in Chicago, IL
    Former Employee - City Year Corps Member in Chicago, IL
    Doesn't Recommend
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    You meet some amazing kids and teens, when City Year cared about teens. And some of your peers are great minded people who were also duped.

    Cons

    Unfortunately, the kids don't make up for the exploitation. The middle & high school programs were cut and the workers are overworked and insultingly underpaid. This is a bandaid company if there ever was one, no solutions to real social problems. Not much upward mobility either. It's all about how much money you raise for them, or how many you recruit. It's about the numbers, not the people.

    Advice to Management

    Provide student loan forgiveness for 40+ hour work weeks. Stop exploiting young dreamers!


  9. Helpful (10)

    "Very frustrating experience"

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Current Employee - Anonymous Employee
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

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

    Pros

    -Opportunity to work with students who really need it
    -It really helps you figure out what you are and are NOT interested in
    -A great, comprehensive glimpse into America's education system
    -The mission is important
    -Good leadership and teamwork experience

    Cons

    I think that the most important thing to know about City Year is that your experience will vary GREATLY depending on your sponsor and school environment. At my site, the teams with the overall best experience have very engaged sponsors, a welcoming school, and competent, driven leadership. It also depends on your team relationship and how discipline is handled.

    There is also a huge lack of consistency in City Year that breeds a lot of resentment between corps members. At my site, some teams work less than ten hour days while other teams work eleven or almost twelve. Some teams are also not penalized for dress code or tardy violations, while others are written up consistently. We are also infrequently allowed to take days off or leave early, while other teams have members who have missed beyond their allowed time without consequence. This causes a lack of unity and often nothing is done about it.

    Because City Year is so funding and data-driven, often the needs of the corps members are not sufficiently heard. Much of the data collection is often left to corps members themselves, making the data subject to error and giving an impossible workload to corps members. PMs are not a good support system, instead they are data monitors.

    The classroom is also a difficult environment. Working with a teacher is hard because there tends to be an unwanted power struggle- teachers often feel that you're imposing in some way. If your teacher does not like you, it's extremely hard to meet your "impact goals"/ have a good experience. City Year is not adequately prepared for a lot of what corps members have to deal with.

    There are also very little resources for those not interested in pursuing education or social work, making the job search post-City Year daunting. You're expected to have a complete post-City Year plan early in the year, but are provided absolutely NO time in which to create said plan. You are also only given a short amount of days off, which forces you to choose between a personal (sanity) day and a day for interviews/ job hunting.

    Many of the perks of City Year (college/graduate school partnerships, stipend, food assistance, AmeriCorps education award) are not made clear at the beginning. You are told the GROSS stipend amount that you'll make, but depending on certain factors, it may be $100-$200 less a month, which is almost unlivable. Food assistance (CY corps members are supposed to qualify automatically) is an incredibly long and frustrating process, especially because the offices that handle food stamps require tons of paper work and time, and often don't understand why our income isn't "income". Very little help is given in this area. Without food stamps, the stipend is COMPLETELY unlivable.

    The AmeriCorps education award - $5,500 for one year- can be great or not worth it, depending on your case. Many schools match the award which makes it a great benefit, but if you have substantial student loans, I'd say that it isn't worth it. One generally defers loans during their service year, which will cost you more than you think: interest accrues daily, and in my service year I gathered more than $4,500 in interest. Because of this, I and many of my fellow corps members, are leaving with more debt than we anticipated.

    I have had to work a second job the entire time I've worked with City Year and this is particularly frustrating for management. I often cannot participate in weekend events, and my PM hounds me for it. I am frequently asked if I "need" the other job, if I can possibly cut down on hours, etc. I'd recommend City Year if your parents or anyone else are/is still paying for at least some of your living expenses. City Year is unrealistic for those of us who are 100% independent/need to save money.

    Overall, I do not recommend City Year for everyone. While I have learned a lot, the heavy dissatisfaction commonly felt at our site has made this experience less than fulfilling. This could be a great experience of trials and challenges that strengthen you; instead the trials and challenges and little support break you.

    Advice to Management

    -Be more organized
    -Train your staff more
    -Train corps members on tutoring methods instead of just branding
    -Communicate better with everyone
    -Encourage Program Managers to spend more time at their schools
    -Focus less on whether or not we have the right kind of khakis and more on mental health


  10. Helpful (2)

    "Orlando site needs some work. Not worth it."

    StarStarStarStarStar
    • Work/Life Balance
    • Culture & Values
    • Career Opportunities
    • Comp & Benefits
    • Senior Management
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Orlando, FL
    Former Employee - Anonymous Employee in Orlando, FL
    Doesn't Recommend
    Neutral Outlook
    No opinion of CEO

    I worked at City Year full-time

    Pros

    unique experience to serve and help communities in need. opportunity to learn how to budget. opportunity to practice managing up. food assistance (SNAP) guaranteed during service...if you plan ahead you won't be hungry.

    Cons

    Not really about the students. long hours for no reason. very political. low pay (stipend is small but manageable). Lack of respect from staff ppl. staff cater to most under developed/ unprofessional...enables/encourages immature behavior. unprofessional training sessions. Cult mentality when corps members ask questions. disregard for suggestions made by federal agents during random routine audit. you aren't trained to do what they ask you to do. PT Crew= step team = dance squad = twerk team.

    Advice to Management

    Have external consultants train staff in everything. Attempt consistency.


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