De Blasio’s Summer Youth Employment Program Struggles To Maintain
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By Stephen Witt
With the deadline for the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) recently
passed, one thing is for certain – the de Blasio Administration will provide about the same
number of slots for youth employment as the previous Bloomberg Administration.
The SYEP provides New York City youth between the ages of 14 and 24 with paid
summer employment for up to six weeks in July and August. Participants work in a variety of
entry-level jobs including with government agencies, hospitals, summer camps, nonprofit
organizations, small businesses, law firms, museums, sports enterprises and retail organizations.
SYEP also provides workshops on job readiness, career exploration, financial literacy
and opportunities to continue education and social growth.
Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) spokesperson Mark
Zustovich said the city received more than 130,000 applications, and about 36,000 youths
(citywide) will get jobs through a lottery system.
“An additional $8.5 million in the mayor’s executive budget will enable the city to reach
nearly the same service levels as last year, while paying the higher minimum wage,” said
Zustovich. “The city tax levy portion of SYEP now stands at $29.2 million, the highest it’s been
since the FY 2009 level of $30.9 million, and DYCD continues to look to additional state
funding and private support to provide as many summer jobs as possible.”
Zustovich said there are roughly 6,000 providers either employing or helping youths find
Among the providers in Central Brooklyn include Bedford-Stuyvesant Restoration
Corporation, the Brooklyn Neighborhood Improvement Association, CAMBA, Catholic
Charities Neighborhood Services, Cypress Hills Local Development Corporation, the Police
Athletic League, Medgar Evers College, Sesame Flyers International and St. Nicks Alliance
The stagnant number of SYEP jobs compared to last year comes as the de Blasio
Administration is considering the closure of 57 NYCHA Community and Senior Centers
Flatbush City Councilman Mathew Eugene, who chairs the City Council’s Committee on
Youth Services, did not return several calls for comment concerning the de Blasio SYEP budget.