Empire State Development and Lt. Gov. Hochul Announce Opening of New Headquarters for Non-Profit Exalt Youth in Lower Manhattan

Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul cuts ribbon on new facility at 17 Battery Place

May 9, 2019

New HQ triples the number of individuals exalt Youth can serve annually to 1,000

Project will assist implementation of New York State’s “Raise the Age” legislation

Empire State Development and Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul today announced that exalt Youth, a non-profit organization that supports workforce development opportunities for young, court-involved New Yorkers, opened its new headquarters in Lower Manhattan. This new, centrally-located facility will allow the organization to better serve more individuals from across all five boroughs. Lt. Governor Hochul joined program graduates to cut the headquarters’ ribbon and tour the new space. 

The new facility will allow exalt to expand the number of people it serves annually to approximately 1,000 – roughly tripling its existing level of service. The space includes classrooms, a library-lounge, communal desks, meeting rooms, a drop-in center and offices. The project will also support implementation of New York State’s “Raise the Age” legislation.

ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “Workforce development and economic development go hand-in-hand and we’re proud to support exalt’s expansion, helping to build our economy while building a brighter future for these young New Yorkers.”

“Exalt Youth offers life-changing programs to help young people complete their education and re-engage in society,” said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who made today’s announcement. “New York is proud to support this expansion project, which will allow exalt to increase capacity and serve every borough. As we work to implement 'Raise The Age,' exalt will be a critical partner to ensure young people involved in the criminal justice system have access to educational opportunities, learn new skills, and secure good-paying jobs.”​​

Gisele Castro, Executive Director of exalt Youth said, “At exalt, we view our interventions as investments, and we are deeply grateful to Governor Cuomo and the NYC Regional Economic Development Council for joining us in that and realizing the completion of this new headquarters. The organization is growing to meet the dire need to move court-involved youth away from the justice system. Our approach to this work is not only a social obligation but also a moral imperative to ensure that our young people—especially those who are most vulnerable—are provided opportunities that free their minds, provide them hope, and allow them to discern a path to a better future.”

Founded in 2006, exalt Youth works with individuals between the ages of 15 and 19 who have been involved in the criminal justice system. exalt equips its participants with the tools and experiences they need to achieve personal success and skilled employment through placement in paid internships, career development opportunities, individualized support and a strong alumni network. Within two years after completing the exalt program, 99 percent of participants are enrolled and progressing in school and 95 percent do not recidivate, compared to an average state recidivism rate of 60 percent. 

exalt’s programs are voluntary, rather than mandated, and often lead to reduced sentences for participants. During FY2018, exalt served a record-high 174 new students and 194 alumni, added 23 new internship sites, launched a college access pilot program and was awarded the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Spark Prize.

To encourage exalt Youth’s relocation and expansion, ESD offered the non-profit up to $175,000 through a performance-based capital grant, recommended by the New York City Regional Economic Development Council (NYC REDC). exalt planned to spend an estimated $886,000 to renovate and fit-out its new headquarters at 17 Battery Place in Lower Manhattan, expanding their ability to serve New Yorkers from every borough.

“Young people in the justice system need assistance and support, and exalt Youth does just that,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Many thanks to Empire State Development for their work in opening this new location, which will allow exalt Youth to expand their reach and help more New Yorkers build a brighter future.”

Winston Fisher, Partner at Fisher Brothers and NYC REDC Co-Chair, said, exalt’s expansion directly supports our goal of inclusive economic growth and will help ensure that the positive benefits of economic development are felt across the five boroughs -- especially in communities and populations where there is the most need.”

Cheryl A. Moore, President and Chief Operating Officer of the New York Genome Center and NYC REDC Co-Chair, said, “We’re proud to help exalt advance its mission to equip youth with the tools and experience needed to positively transform their lives. exalt’s critically important work benefits New Yorkers who face the greatest barriers to education and employment.”

About exalt Youth
exalt is a NYC based 501c3 committed to elevating expectations of personal success for youth ages 15-19 who’ve been involved in the criminal justice system. We inspire youth at a critical crossroads to believe in their worth, from the first steps in contemplation through the journey to create lasting behavioral change. Our powerful combination of structured classes for tangible skill development, individualized support to navigate the education and justice systems, placement in paid internships and an alumni network of resources equips youth with the tools and experience to avoid further criminal justice system involvement. At exalt, we empower youth to see a future filled with hope – and we provide the road map to get there. Click here for our newest video.

About Empire State Development
Empire State Development (ESD) is New York’s chief economic development agency (www.esd.ny.gov). The mission of ESD is to promote a vigorous and growing economy, encourage the creation of new job and economic opportunities, increase revenues to the State and its municipalities, and achieve stable and diversified local economies. Through the use of loans, grants, tax credits and other forms of financial assistance, ESD strives to enhance private business investment and growth to spur job creation and support prosperous communities across New York State. ESD is also the primary administrative agency overseeing Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Councils and the marketing of “I LOVE NEW YORK,” the State’s iconic tourism brand. For more information on Regional Councils and Empire State Development, visit www.regionalcouncils.ny.gov and www.esd.ny.gov.


Jack Sterne | [email protected] | (212) 803-3764
ESD Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313