Now Recruiting Future Emergency Medical Technicians

Interested in a career in healthcare? Become an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) at the CDI Career Academy. With our new free training program you’ll have the potential to make a great salary, have a flexible schedule and develop a long-term career.

You’ll receive:

  • Four weeks of work readiness training and preparation
  • EMT training – learn how to assess injuries, administer emergency medical care and transport those who are sick or injured to medical facilities
  • One-to-one support and tutoring throughout the program
  • Help with transportation, textbooks, and obtaining an internship
  • Support finding a job once program is completed

To be eligible you must:

  • Be between the ages of 18 – 24
  • Have a High School Diploma or GED
  • Currently be out of school and out of work
  • Have a valid driver’s license, or we’ll help you get one!

Classes start February 5, 2018. To find out more, contact CDI Career Academy Director Sandra Morales at


Congratulations Posse Scholars!

Left to right: Rebecca Harrigan, Isaiah Ose Gyening, Josary Valeiron, and Ashley Cruz. Not pictured: Imane Cherif El Faris.

Five seniors – the most ever — from The High School for Health Professions and Human Services have been awarded full, four-year college scholarships from the Posse Foundation. Congratulations!

It’s an extremely competitive process to become a Posse Scholar. Awards go to students with high leadership potential from multicultural backgrounds who may be overlooked by the traditional college application process. The rigorous selection process began in May with a nomination by teachers and a series of group and individual interviews and awards were just announced. We look forward to sharing more college updates in the spring as more students hear back on college and scholarships.


From high school to work

Three students from City-As-School recently joined the team at UncommonGoods in Brooklyn. This very cool online retailer of unusual gifts was founded by one of CDI’s founding board members and current Board of Advisors member David Bolotsky. UncommonGoods has been a longtime CDI partner, and has also hosted student visits and provided internships. We are grateful for this exceptional and uncommon support!


Welcome Back!

The students are back! Our offices are bustling again and the halls are filled with new energy and excitement at our three partner schools: Manhattan Comprehensive Night & Day High School, The High School for Health Professions and Human Services, and City-As-School High School. Join us in wishing everyone a great start to the school year and stay tuned for more from CDI!

“I’m ready for a new adventure. Junior year is a big year, and I’m looking forward to joining new clubs, getting more involved with the Young Women’s Leadership Group and finding an internship – especially since I know CDI will be helping me. I’m getting a head start by working on my rĂ©sumĂ©.” – Brianna Hicks, HPHS Class of 2019


Summertime and the livin’ is…

It’s summer– a time for vacations, new experiences and some fun in the sun! See what some of our students have been up to…

“I have a busy schedule in the summer with SAT prep, summer school and my job at a real estate office, but I go to the gym in the afternoon and I see my friends on Fridays. We usually go to the movies or play pool. I’m pretty good at it. Earlier this summer I took a vacation to visit family and friends in my home country Bangladesh. It was really fun, and I wasn’t ready to leave when it was over.” – Tahmit Kazi

“I like to go to the beach. Recently, I went to Bay Shore on Long Island with my family and friends and we caught crabs –maybe 20 or more! When we returned to the city we went to a restaurant and cooked them. It was delicious.

During the week, I go to Cooper Union for the Summer STEM program. I like working as part of a team. Juan is my partner, and right now we are making a Rube Goldberg machine.”– Wenxin Liu

“I go to Cooper Union for the Summer STEM program, then come back to school to hang out with my friends and go to CDI. I am also preparing to take the SAT test in October and work at a Japanese restaurant. For fun, I like to go to Rockaway Beach and see summer movies. The new Spiderman movie was so good!” – Juan Herran Ocampo

“This summer I have been tutoring students in 2nd through 5th grade at P.S. 112 Dutch Kills in Long Island City. I’ve always been interested in teaching, but after this experience, I don’t think it’s for me. There are so many things a teacher must think about like what type of learner a student is or the best way to teach something. Now I’m more interested in Finance or Entrepreneurship. If I’m not at summer school, studying for the SAT, or at work, I’d be at the beach paddle boarding. My sister is very athletic and taught me. After I learn to paddle board well, I really want to learn to surf. ” – Ian Fernandez


Photos: Attitude of Gratitude

Students and alumni benefit immensely from the time, support and experience of volunteers and donors whether it’s in after-school tutoring sessions or providing career insight and mock interviews at a corporate office. In June, we held a volunteer and supporter appreciation event to celebrate the contributions of our community that make our work and the progress of our students possible.

See photos from the celebration below:
Continue Reading →


From Michael Roberts, Executive Director: Excelsior Scholarships– A good step forward, but not yet free


Photo from


The headlines have been exuberant: SUNY and CUNY are now “free!” As you have probably recently read, Governor Cuomo has expanded the income requirement for students to qualify for funding for college in New York State with the Excelsior Scholarship. That is good news. We want to explain, however, that although this can be a big help to some, it doesn’t address all the financial needs students and families face, particularly those that CDI serves.

Some issues about Excelsior requirements that affect CDI schools’ graduates:

  • Undergraduates must be enrolled full-time at a SUNY or CUNY school, taking 30 credits a year. Many of our schools’ graduates enroll part-time to accommodate work schedules, so they would not be eligible.
  • Students must be on track to graduate within two to four years, depending on the degree they are seeking. Our alumni often need to interrupt their studies to work, and often take four to six  years or longer to finish their degrees. In fact, the New York Times estimates that 90% of the state’s community college students would not currently meet this requirement.
  • Scholarship and financial aid funds that a student receives must be used first; then the Excelsior Scholarship kicks in to cover the remaining tuition. Excelsior funds cannot be used to cover fees or room and board. Many of our students receive financial aid, so their tuition is often fully covered. Where they need help is with living expenses – housing, transportation, food and books –which Excelsior doesn’t cover.

Overall, Excelsior is a great step forward. Our hope is that as it rolls out, the Governor and the state legislation will modify the requirements so that low-income students will be more likely to benefit from the program.

This New York Times’ April 11th article summarizes the issues well.

More information is also available on the FAQ page for the New York State Higher Education Services Corporation.

Michael Roberts
Executive Director, CDI


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