Urban Leadership Fellows Program

TIn 1992, The Municipal Forum of New York, Inc. developed the Urban Leadership Fellows (ULF) Program with the mission of introducing talented young people to the municipal securities industry. The ULF Program is a paid, mentored summer internship program for graduating New York City high school seniors who are interested in careers in finance.

As ULF interns, eager young men and women experience the municipal securities sector first-hand and learn about various facets of the industry, from marketing, trading and underwriting to municipal credit research and analysis.

In 1996, The Municipal Forum engaged Futures and Options (F+O) to coordinate and manage the ULF Program with the goal of expanding internship opportunities and deepening its training component. Since its inception in 1995, F+O, has served more than 4,500 New York City youth and partnered with upwards of 500 businesses, nonprofit organizations and government agencies to offer high school students paid, mentored internships and career readiness training. The partnership between F+O and the Municipal Forum’s Youth Education Fund Committee has resulted in a steady rise in the number of firms sponsoring ULF interns. Currently, the Municipal Forum invites more than 40 students to participate in the ULF Program each summer.

Admission to the ULF Program is highly competitive. F+O recruits prospective students from New York City public high schools, the Academy of Finance high schools, and the Inner-City Scholarship Fund high schools. Applicants must have a strong academic record; excellent computer, communication and interpersonal skills; and they must submit a written application with a personal essay, a letter of recommendation and a transcript. F+O program coordinators interview all applicants and select interns based upon their individual qualifications and the needs of the sponsoring firms, which are recruited by the Youth Education Fund Committee.

Once accepted, students begin a six-week internship engagement following the July 4th holiday. In addition to working, interns are required to attend two orientations, an opening breakfast, Bond School, a field trip to Washington, D.C., a public speaking workshop, and two additional career readiness workshops. The program concludes with a closing luncheon for the interns and supervisors, where each intern receives a $500 book grant from The Municipal Forum.

The Municipal Forum awards college scholarships to ULF alumni who maintain a high cumulative grade point average in their first three years of college. A college scholarship is also given to a student who shows an outstanding commitment to community service.

To enrich their experience, ULF interns are paired with young professionals working in public finance who serve as mentors to whom they can turn for professional advice as they enter careers in business and finance. Mentors and interns meet for two events and communicate throughout the program.

For further information about the ULF Program, please contact Futures and Options at 212-601-0002 or by email at info@futuresandoptions.org.