CAYLA logo

The City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy (CAYLA)
is committed to providing its students with:Cayla students who interned at Slay the Mic in the summer of 2022.

  • A meaningful summer work experience,
  • Leadership development through seminars and community service, and
  • College preparatory activities, including year long academic support. 


Since its inception in 2007, CAYLA has been nationally-recognized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. In 2011, CAYLA was honored with the North Carolina Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service.

CAYLA is an integral part of the City’s ‘Grow Our Own’ initiative, as envisioned by the Asheville City Council. The City is committed to giving Asheville’s young people the opportunity to stay and work in Asheville, as well as to have valuable work experiences that will advance their future careers wherever they go. The program is a partnership with the Asheville City Schools Foundation and is supported in part by Buncombe County.

CAYLA recruits, trains and places local high school students at meaningful summer jobs with the City and with participating agencies, in addition to providing weekly day-long workshops on financial literacy, leadership, career exploration and 21st Century job skills. CAYLA engages its students throughout the school year by offering classroom-based enrichment activities, plus individualized assistance with college applications and scholarship research. The vast majority of CAYLA students will be first in their families to attend college. CAYLA students must be enrolled in Asheville City Schools or one of the Buncombe County High Schools. To strengthen their connection to the community, CAYLA students learn about civic responsibility through frequent community service projects that they themselves plan and lead. The CAYLA students have become positive role models for their peers and, just as importantly, for the many children with whom they interact, including their younger siblings and neighbors. The CAYLA students have completed more than 4,000 hours of community service with agencies including MANNA FoodBank, IRL at Asheville Middle School, Big Brothers Big Sisters, ABCCM Women and Children’s Shelter, Habitat for Humanity, Brother Wolf, and Eliada Homes, among others.


2022 Internship Sites  

  • YTL (Youth Transforming for Life)
  • City of Asheville Economic Development Dept.
  • Black Wall Street
  • Brother Wolf
  • Slaythemic
  • Buncombe County Family Justice Center
  • Sparc Foundation
  • City of Asheville Planning & Urban Design Dept.
  • City of Asheville IT Dept.
  • NC Arboretum
  • 104.3 Radio Station
  • Noir Collective
  • Horizons at Carolina Day School
  • Asheville Science Museum
  • YMCA
  • Buncombe County Special Collections
  • RHA Health Services
  • Childrens First
  • Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office
  • The Plug:  A Chiropractic Wellness Center
  • AVL Cake Lady
  • City of Asheville Equity & Inclusion Dept.
  • AAUW (American Association of University Women)


2021 Internship Sites

  • 104.3 Radio Station
  • Buncombe County Community Engagement Department
  • YTL (Youth Transforming for Life)
  • WNC Nature Center
  • ABIPA 
  • RHA Health Services
  • Buncombe County Special Collections (NC Room)
  • McGuire Wood & Bissette Law Firm
  • City of Asheville Business Inclusion Office
  • Slaythemic 
  • Buncombe County District Attorney’s Office
  • Leaf Global Arts
  • Brother Wolf
  • City of Asheville Parks & Recreation Dept.
  • Asheville Pro-Lash 
  • Asheville Community Theater
  • City of Asheville Economic Development Dept.
  • Asheville Chamber of Commerce 
  • City of Asheville IT Dept.


Social Services/Nonprofit

● SPARC Foundation
● Habitat for Humanity
● SlaytheMic Radio Show
● The Collider
● The YMI
● AVL Technologies
● Asheville Museum of Science
● The Ade’ Project
● Let’s Explore Africa Quiz Show

Health Services


*Internship Sites were greatly affected by the Covid-19 Pandemic


Summer Internships


CAYLA 2019 group
CAYLA  seniors bound for college.

CAYLA students are placed at summer internships with City and County departments and with local businesses and nonprofits.

Notice: The schedule is Four days per week, 4 hours per day for a total of approximately 16 hours (specific times will depend on each job site)


Weekly Workshops – Summer

  • CAYLA students are required to attend mandatory Friday workshops on topics ranging from leadership development, team-building, financial literacy, college prep and career exploration. The theme for 2022 is Change Agents of Asheville.
  • Students will develop team Action Plans that can create positive change in our community.
  • Students are paid their hourly wage for attendance at the workshops.


Writing Assignments and Leadership Development – Summer

  • CAYLA students are required to complete weekly reading and writing assignments as assigned by CAYLA program director.
  • CAYLA students participate in the annual Me2We Conference in conjunction with the ASCORE Leadership Council, the Center for Diversity Education, the AVID Summer Bridge Program, MANOS, the JCC and Youth/OutRight.


Community Service

CAYLA students are involved in numerous community service and social justice projects throughout the summer and academic year.



  • Total scholarship money (merit) awarded to CAYLA 2007 -2021 = $1,926,000
  • Total community service hours since 2007: 4,300
  • 100% of CAYLA seniors have been accepted to college


Contact Information

Alex Mitchiner – CD Workforce Development – CAYLA  / 828-337-7569


If you are looking for affordable housing, suffering a housing crisis, in need of rental assistance or down payment assistance, or you have concerns about our homeless community, 

Please Call 211. The service is free, confidential and available in any language.