State of the City | Mental telehealth, nursing programs among education initiatives announced in Adams’ second address

Mayor Eric Adams gives a speech at the State of the City Address.
Photo by Dean Moses

Mayor Eric Adams presented his administration’s education initiatives today at his second State of the City address. In his speech, Adams announced his plans to expand CUNY and career-readiness programs, create a nursing education initiative, launch a school for students with dyslexia, place students in a summer youth work program, and roll out a mental health program with telehealth care.

Below are the education initiatives outlined in today’s State of the City address.

Mental Telehealth program in public high schools

If you don’t know what “whole child” means at this point, it’s time to learn. Besides supporting the city’s youth with healthy foods, physical education, and social-emotional learning, the Adams administration plans to also expand mental health services for high school students.

The city’s department of education already offers   remote mental health services for children and families. The School Mental Health Program works with community providers to offer Telehealth services.

Academic success is important, but we must also take a whole-child approach to education,” Adams said. “This year, we are rolling out a new, comprehensive mental health program for our students. We will provide our high school students with everything from telehealth care to community-based counseling, depending on their individual needs.”

The program includes daily breathing and mindfulness exercises and new school food options with plant-based options.

Supporting students with dyslexia

The city will tackle reading comprehension at schools so that students are able to read at or above grade level “by ensuring every school has at least one staff member trained in literacy-based interventions.” The Adams administration announced its launch of the first district school in city history dedicated solely to supporting students with dyslexia, and making dyslexia screenings available in every public school in New York City.

“Every child will get the support they need to become a strong reader, at or above grade level,” Adams said. “Going forward, every school leader will be trained in this improved literacy instruction, so they can support the teachers in implementing that curriculum.”

Nursing Education Initiative 

The COVID-19 pandemic played a large part on exacerbating burnout and trauma on registered nurses and those working on the front lines. As a result, the city saw early retirements among older nurses, which partly led to a nursing workforce shortage. The recent nurse strikes decrying the staffing ratios in several hospitals in New York City reiterated the current realities for many working nurses across the city. 

“We want them to climb the career ladder,” Adams said. “We will support 30,000 current and aspiring nurses over the next five years with everything from additional training, mentorship, and clinical placements. New York City needs our nurses, who did such incredible work during the pandemic. Nurses are the hands, the heart, and soul of our healthcare system.”

The Adams administration announced today it will partner with CUNY for the creation of a new initiative to support the nurse workforce and with retention rates.

“His proposed partnership between the city and CUNY to create a Center for Nursing Education and Practice is an urgently needed investment that will prepare 800 nurse educators to train the next generation of nurses in New York City,” said CUNY Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez.

CUNY2X Tech Program 

Known as the NYC Tech Talent Pipeline, the Adams Administration is planning to expand the CUNY2x Tech program to more campuses, including community colleges. The program aims to double the number of CUNY students who graduate each year with a tech-related bachelor’s degree.

The administration will focus on institutions in communities of color that serve first-generation college students. 

Summer Youth Empowerment Program

The city will continue its goal to provide pathways and pipelines for jobs, job training, and continuing education. The Summer Rising program will provide up to 35,000 middle school students with career exposure and college visits. There is an emphasis on supporting LGBTQ+ youth through a new Summer Youth Employment Program Pride initiative.

“Our city is determined to make sure our students graduate from high school with skills, strategy, and purpose,” Adams said. “We want our students to get the experience and support they need to transition to college and career paths before they graduate.”

The city will also expand its FutureReadyNYC program to 90 schools and 7,000 students next year to provide early college and career-connected learning programs. The pilot program was announced last September for career exploration in fields such as health care, technology, business, and education. The Adams administration anticipated that the program would reach roughly 5,000 students in the 2022-23 school year. 

“Talent is at the center of our jobs strategy, and we know it starts with education,” Adams said. “Chancellor (David) Banks and I are united in our vision of giving all of our children a bright start and a bold future.”

Jennifer March, Executive Director of Citizens’ Committee for Children of New York was pleased to hear about a boost of support for the Summer Youth Employment Program and mental health supports in schools, but felt there was more missing to Adams’ address.

“We are disappointed about the absence of attention to young child development in the mayor’s remarks today,” March said. “It is deeply troubling to see the continued lack of investments to expand access to care for infants and toddlers, and the lack of resources to increase availability of full-day, year-round child care, 3-K, and Universal Pre-K.”