Born out of the idealism and turbulence of the 1960s, Metropolitan College of New York (MCNY) was founded by Audrey Cohen, an innovative educator who believed the key to a truly effective education lay in uniting the classroom with the professional world.
Audrey Cohen launched the Women’s Talent Corps in 1964, addressing a need for both jobs and training. The program prepared motivated women, with experience in their low-income neighborhoods, for jobs to assist their communities. Simultaneously, the Women’s Talent Corps worked to create a new level of “paraprofessional” positions in organizations and agencies: teacher’s assistant, guidance counselor assistant, paralegal. The 30-week training program included an eight-week classroom orientation, 10 weeks on-the-job training in a school or community agency, and 12 weeks of intensive work at the same organization. Students were then hired by those agencies. The one-year training program paid students $2 per hour to participate.
By 1969, the Women’s Talent Corps began admitting men and added a second year of programming. It continued to expand in scope, and was renamed the College for Human Services in 1970, when it was granted a Charter by the New York State Board of Regents to award associate degrees, soon after it was accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.
In 1972, the College revamped its curriculum to develop what it now calls Purpose-Centered Education. Interviewing a spectrum of the best professionals, they identified key characteristics that all shared no matter what their field or position. Among them were the ability to understand themselves and others, work effectively in groups, gather and communicate information, and manage change. Developing these skills became the foundation of Purpose-Centered Education, still the hallmark of MCNY and one of the differentiating factors of the college. This unique, holistic approach has proven to be particularly meaningful for nontraditional students pursuing degrees while working and raising families, as they can experience the relevance of their studies to their daily lives from the moment they enter the College.
Focused on human services professions in its early years, the College added business programs in 1983. Soon after, in 1988, the College added its first graduate program: a Master of Administration (today a Master of Public Administration).
Renamed Audrey Cohen College in 1992 in honor of its founder and president, the school became Metropolitan College of New York a decade later, reflecting the growth, vitality and diversity that this dynamic institution shares with the city in which it is located. Students now come from all over the U.S. and the world, drawn to MCNY by its unique experiential focus, hands-on faculty, and opportunities for intense, accelerated study.
Today, the college has graduate and undergraduate programs across three schools: the Audrey Cohen School for Human Services and Education, the School for Business and the School for Public Affairs and Administration.