COOP NYC: A Talent Incubator Bridging the City’s College-to-Career Gap

Rose Durandisse is a Digital Strategist at 6S Marketing in New York. Rose came to 6S after completing COOP, a program that serves as a vital link between urban public universities and local employers, helping underrepresented college grads find meaningful careers in technology, digital media, and design. The non-profit organization helps local companies find and employ exceptional candidates, bringing diversity into the digital marketing workplace.

Meet Rose

Born and raised in Brooklyn, Rose is a graduate of Hunter College with a dual degree in Africana Studies and Media. She’s an adrenaline junkie always on the search for her next adventure. An expert at traveling on a budget, she’s a Groupon aficionado and a pro at spotting great deals.

When she’s not crafting strategies for clients at 6S, Rose continues to mentor students at COOP.

About COOP

COOP’s flagship program consists of 200 hours over 16 weeks of training in digital skills and exposure to the tech and media industry. The nonprofit connects and trains underrepresented grads to tech firms, ad agencies, and design companies. COOP prepares its graduates to work effectively in diverse teams, using a wide set of digital tools. Then they help grads find the right opportunities—and help partners find (and interview and hire) the right candidates.

We chatted with Kalani Leifer, Executive Director of COOP, on why he started the program. Here’s his story.

“I started my career as a high school history teacher in the Bronx. Every day, I promised my students—implicitly and explicitly—that if they earned a college degree, they’d get a fair shot at a middle-class career. Many went on to study at the City University of New York, becoming the first in their families to graduate from college. But three years after graduation, barely half of CUNY grads earn a living wage ($30K in NYC). That’s a broken promise on a massive, national scale—but also on an intimate, individual scale: I broke my promise, and I’m grateful for a second chance to get it right at COOP.”

Since then, COOP has accomplished some impressive feats.

Program growth: Since 2014, COOP has launched 31 cohorts with 420+ apprentices in New York and the Bay Area, partnering with the City University of New York and San Francisco State University.

Upward mobility: Four out of five alumni are fully employed. They’re earning an average of $45K after 12 months and $60K after two years, with plenty of room to grow.

Alumni leadership: Today, alumni cohort captains lead 100% of COOP programs, and the broader community provides a steady stream of formal referrals.

6S Marketing is proud to be an industry partner of COOP, amongst other digital media companies in New York (and beyond) that have hired COOP candidates. To learn more, visit the COOP website.

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