Incoming New York City schools Chancellor David Banks wants to demystify the corporate path for city kids — and has the connections to help him do it.
The Brooklyn native has forged close contacts with a slew of high-ranking business and legal world figures, many of whom serve on the board of his educational foundation for boys of color.
The Eagle Academy Foundation — which provides support services for the network of schools Banks founded — boasts current and former executives from major companies.
The foundation’s ranks include Citizens Bank executive Chapin Bates, former Credit Suisse Managing Director Douglas Healy, New York Life Senior Vice President Joel Albarella, and partners at several white shoe law firms.
The board also includes United Way of New York City Vice President Teresa Evans, Vicki Zubovic of education technology firm Khan Academy, and Aldrin Enis of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.
“If we’re not preparing them to take their place in the 21st-century economy, what are we doing?” Banks said Thursday. “They are graduating and they don’t even have the skills to go into industry.”
Banks said the Department of Education should prioritize employment pathways moving forward — and that teachers should be trained to have a better understanding of what awaits their students.
“Far too many of our teachers have no idea what it’s like on the side of graduation,” he said. “What is it like to work at a place like a Google or a Microsoft?”
Mayor-elect Eric Adams has pledged to embrace the business sector during his term and connect them with city kids.
“This is why I am sitting down with my business leaders and not creating this wall,” he said alongside Banks Thursday. “Because I am asking them to invest in these schools. This is why we are building out a real workforce development plan that is going to be in alignment with the skills we are teaching our children.”
The status quo, Banks argued, is leaving city kids ill-prepared to vie for jobs in a competitive environment.
“If it’s just going to be school for the sake of going to school — that’s not enough,” he said.