City Asks for Input to Expand CAYLA

Asheville City is surveying its business and community leaders to determine whether it should expand its City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy for next summer.

CAYLA helps local students

Created as part of Asheville’s “Grow Our Own” initiative, CAYLA is designed to locate, train and place area high-school students in paid summer internships and for working and academic experience year-round to prepare for college.

Students also attend daylong leadership- and career-skills workshops each summer week and complete community-service projects with local nonprofits throughout the year. Such nonprofits have included MANNA FoodBank, Asheville EarthWorks, Kids Against Hunger, ABCCM Women and Children’s Shelter, Habitat for Humanity, Brother Wolf and Eliada Homes. The City of Asheville reports that students have completed 3,500 such service hours since CAYLA began in 2007.

According to the city, all CAYLA high-school seniors attended college, many of whom reportedly were the first of their families to have done so. Since 2007, the city said CAYLA students have received $1.5 million in scholarships and merits.

During the summer internship program, the City of Asheville pays the students $12.50 hourly, and they are covered by the city’s insurance and workers’ compensation policies as seasonal/temporary employees.

CAYLA’s participating organizations

In 2016, civic participants included the Asheville Fire, Parks/Recreation, Community/Economic Development, Transportation and Water departments. Business participants included the Asheville Area Chamber of Commerce, Community Theatre, GreenWorks, CarePartners, DoubleTree, JB Media, LEAF, Roots + Wings and VisionSource, among others.

Information on CAYLA’s goals and accomplishments can be found here:

The survey can be found here: