Mayor Announces Largest Offering of Employment Opportunities Ever for City Youth Ages 14-24
NYC Mayor Eric Adams showed love for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) the day after Valentine’s Day when he announced that New York City will support a record 100,000 summer job opportunities annually for young people ages 14-24 this summer. 90,000 of the opportunities will stem from SYEP plus 10,000 opportunities from other city programs. The 90,000 job opportunities via SYEP is the largest number of jobs ever made available in the program’s 60-year history. The record number of opportunities — an increase from the previous record of nearly 75,000 — is possible in part due to a $79M investment that will be made in the mayor’s upcoming Fiscal Year 2023 Preliminary Budget.
“Young people in this city should have the opportunity to work or learn this summer, and this historic investment will help secure a better future for tens of thousands while helping to make our city safer,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams. “We owe it to our children to give them every opportunity to thrive, and this expansion will do just that.”
This expansion is a key part of an overall strategy to keep the city’s youth engaged and active over the summer months when crime spikes — and is a preventive action outlined in Mayor Adams’ Blueprint to End Gun Violence. The city’s SYEP program, which is the largest in the country, typically runs for six weeks in July and August. SYEP provides participants with paid opportunities to explore potential career interests and pathways, allowing participants to engage in learning experiences that help develop their professional, social, civic, and leadership skills. Research shows summer jobs save lives, cut crime, and strengthen communities. A 2021 study found that SYEP participation lowers participants’ chances of being arrested that summer by 17% and by 23% for felony arrests. Other research has found that SYEP youth are significantly less likely to be incarcerated in New York State more than five years after their participation in the program.
Beyond the public safety implications, summer jobs can offer life-changing experiences for participants who discover a passion, connect with a mentor, and gain the confidence that comes from successfully navigating the world of work. As the program has evolved over its six-decade history, the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) has put greater emphasis on youth development. City officials are also working with private sector partners, non-profit organizations, and others to help place participants.
Local community organization, St. Nicks Alliance, has long been a provider of SYEP internships. The organization does outreach in the schools where they host afterschool, to area NYCHA housing, and to the community at large. They also recruit local businesses to host SYEP interns. In 2021 they filled 2,300 SYEP internships. “As one of the largest providers of SYEP in NYC, our goals are to support nearly 2500 youth and young adults as they explore career pathways, develop soft skills so essential to college and the workforce, and earn wages,” said Debra Sue Lorenzen, St. Nicks Alliance’s director of Youth and Education. For more information about SYEP at St. Nicks Alliance email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The youth in the community are passionate about SYEP. When COVID-19 and budget cuts threatened to cancel SYEP, a surge of activism from the community’s young people and community organizations helped to keep it alive.
Applications for New York City’s SYEP CareerReady and Special Initiatives tracks opened on February 14, and the general community-based application period for all youth opens on March 1. The CareerReady track is designed for students between the ages of 14 and 21 from select NYC Department of Education (DOE) schools. The Special Initiatives track offers tailored opportunities for youth aged 14-24 who are: residents of select New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) developments, in foster care, justice- or court-involved, among other specifications.
“Creating productive, safe, enriching activities for our youth is necessary to keep them busy, out of trouble, and working towards bigger goals over the summer,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “Summer youth employment opportunities also help expose our youth to professional experiences that could help them stand apart from other college applicants, or expose them to potential career decisions — both valuable to their growth. Thank you, Mayor Adams, for your support of our youth.”
“As a mother, former teacher, and fellow New Yorker, I applaud Mayor Adams for this historic investment into our city’s youth, so that they can have the opportunity to work or learn this summer,” said U.S. Representative Carolyn Maloney. “As our city recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, I can think of no better way to help the future generation of our city than to give them the tools and experiences to grow and learn. This $79 million investment in our youth is welcomed and much needed.