Summer Youth employment returns to New York City

Queens Community House is facing obstacles while working toward the kickoff of the Summer Youth Employment Program. (Courtesy QCH)

A year after the program was nearly nixed, Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed earlier this week the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program will return.  

The six-week-long program gives jobs to thousands of young people from the ages of 14 to 24 across the five boroughs. Since entering office, the city has boosted investment in the popular program from  $21 million to $134 million and nearly doubled the number of job spots available to young people. In 2013, roughly 36,000 young people were given work as part of the program and in the summer of 2019 about 74,500 people took part in the initiative. 

Last year, de Blasio considered suspended the program amid budget concerns as the city grappled with the novel coronavirus pandemic and its resulting economic shutdowns and instead implemented a remote option that served 35,000 young people. 

This summer, up to 75,000 teens and young adults will “play a pivotal role” in New York City’s pandemic recovery with paid work experiences for at least $15 an hour at over 12,000 worksites across the city. 

“When I say recovery for all of us, I mean all of us, especially young New Yorkers,” said Mayor de Blasio. “The Summer Youth Employment Program is back and providing teens and young adults with a paycheck and the skills they need to build a stronger future for themselves and our city.”

The program’s youngest members, 14 and 15-year-olds, will learn about career opportunities while receiving a stipend for project-based activities while older teens, 20 and 21-year-olds will improve their work readiness skills and work in minimum wage positions. Young adults between the ages of 22 and 24 having trouble finding work or who live in NYCHA are eligible for special programming. 

Summer Youth Employment participants that are part of the CUNY Recovery Corp will work on projects that support “communities as they continue to get back on their feet following the pandemic,” according to a statement. 

“Never in its 58-year history has the Summer Youth Employment Program taken on a more critical role than now. As the City climbs back from the COVID-19 pandemic and the worst economic downturn in nearly a half-century, providing paid experiences to tens of thousands of SYEP participants in all five boroughs will not only help young people and their families get back on their feet, but lift up all of New York City along with them. I thank the mayor, the City Council and Speaker (Corey) Johnson, Youth Services Chair Debi Rose and Finance Chair Daniel Dromm for their tireless support of SYEP,” said DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong.

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