Member Spotlight


NYCETC has launched a Member Spotlight series in the NYC Workforce Weekly to introduce our readers to the wide variety of workforce programs and services that our members offer across the five boroughs. We are kicking this off by highlighting new members that have joined the Coalition in the last year. This week we focus on Braven.

Within the US, the promise and rhetoric that hard work and ambition will be met with equality of opportunity remains pervasive as a cultural and economic aspiration. The reality, however, is that of a quiet crisis on our hands that is particularly prevalent among low-income and minority communities. An African American with a BA is twice as likely to be unemployed as their white counterpart, and a Bachelor’s degree holder from a low-income background will start their career earning only two-thirds as much as those from higher-income backgrounds. While education has the potential to be the great equalizer, today, only 25% of our country’s 1.2 million first-generation or low-income college enrollees will land a strong job after graduation and be on a path to the American Dream. These are the statistics and realities that Braven works to alter by empowering promising, underrepresented young people with the skills, confidence, experiences, and networks necessary to transition from college to strong first jobs, which lead to meaningful careers and lives of impact.

Braven supports first-generation, Pell eligible, and/or students of color from college to career by partnering with universities and employers to offer a two-part experience that begins with a credit-bearing college course followed by a post-course experience that lasts through graduation. The course is a hybrid online and in-person career-acceleration experience that students (“Fellows”) take for academic credit. Fellows complete weekly assignments on Braven’s online platform to develop in five professional competencies: operating and managing, problem solving, working in teams, networking and communicating, and self-driven leading. Volunteer professionals from local employers, facilitate the in-person experience and lead a team of 5-8 Fellows through weekly Learning Labs, sharing real-world application and feedback. As “Post-Accelerator Fellows,” students gain access to additional opportunities to develop leadership and career-readiness skills, engage in a professional network, and stay on track to securing strong internships and jobs. Braven employer partners include Prudential, LinkedIn, Salesforce, College Board, WW, UBS and Training the Street.

“It is imperative that students from humble beginnings leave college with a strong first job and on a path to economic choice and mobility,” said Kilsys Payamps-Roure, Founding NYC Executive Director at Braven. “Our vision is that the next generation of leaders will emerge from everywhere and be as diverse as our future demands.”

Braven has worked with more than 2,400 students to date, 90% of who identify as people of color, 59% as first-generation college students, 66% as coming from a low-income background (or Pell Grant recipients), and 39% as transfer students. The organization began its programming in 2013 at San José State University, and has since expanded to 3 other universities and colleges, including most recently to New York City. This January, Braven launched at Lehman College at CUNY with over 115 Fellows.

Braven’s north star is a strong first job or enrollment in graduate school for students within six months of graduation. Nationally, 71% of Fellows secured quality full-time jobs worthy of their bachelor’s degree or enrolled in graduate school compared to 49% of Black and Latinx college graduates from public universities. Similarly, 73% of Braven college graduates have at least one internship during college, compared with 49% of first-generation seniors at large state universities. Additionally, 49% of Braven graduates are already outearning their parents in their first job out of college. By comparison, by age 30, Americans have a 50-50 shot of outearning their parents

Braven is always looking for employer partners and volunteers to help empower their students on the path to graduation and strong first jobs. Please contact Kilsys at for more information and to connect.