City of Asheville opens application process for CAYLA program

CAYLA students at horse farm
Here CAYLA students enjoy horseback riding during a Friday learning workshop.

CAYLA logo


Applications are now open for the CAYLA program. The City of Asheville Youth Leadership Academy (CAYLA) recruits, trains, and places eligible high school sophomores and juniors in paid summer internships that provide exposure to 21st century job skills. 


Each summer, teens from across the City and County come together to learn and earn valuable job experience through this fantastic program. CAYLA students are matched with summer internships with City and County departments and with local businesses and nonprofits. Students are also required to complete a two-week independent study project. They attend mandatory Friday learning workshops on leadership development, team-building, financial literacy, college prep, and career exploration. CAYLA is funded by the City of Asheville and Buncombe County Government. 


The CAYLA Program is looking for students who: 

  • They might be the first in their families to attend and graduate from college; 
  • Students who are passionate about equity in our community; 
  • Students who are curious about exploring career opportunities; 
  • Who might consider themselves role models and leaders.


CAYLA students work 20 hours per week and earn $13.65 an hour. 

  • The schedule is four hours per day, Mondays through Thursdays, for a total of 16 hours at their internship site. Students are paid for attending the Friday learning workshops (an additional four hours). 
  • Due to COVID-19, the City may deliver the program virtually this year. More information will be shared with applicants in the coming weeks.


Applicants must be current sophomores OR juniors enrolled at Asheville High/SILSA or one of the Buncombe County public high schools. 


Does this sound like your child or student? Here’s how you can apply:


CAYLA applications are due by 5 p.m. March 5. For more information on the CAYLA program, please visit

For more information, contact Alex Mitchiner at  or 828-259-5735.