City Council asks de Blasio for $14.2 Million for More Summer Youth Jobs
By Stephen Witt
A coalition of elected officials, community-based organizations and youths demanded this week that the de Blasio Administration put in another $14.2 million from the budget to pay for another 10,000 jobs (minimum-wage jobs) for the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).
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. The 36,000 jobs are slightly less than the number of jobs last year under the Bloomberg Administration.
“With 100,000 youth turned away every year from the Summer Youth Employment Program, the city must do more. We know well the benefits of helping young people to engage in a positive work experience over the summer months: it’s good for them, good for their families, good for their communities and good for the economy,” said Nancy Wackstein, Executive Director of United Neighborhood Houses of New York (UNH).
Additionally, Wackstein said the de Blasio Administration should commit to expanding the program to serve 100,000 youth by 2018.
City Council member Mathieu Eugene, who also chairs the City Council’s Youth Services Committee, said he supports both the increased $14.2 million allocation and the goal to bring the level up to 100,000 jobs by 2018.
“We all know that summer youth jobs are very important for the City of New York,” said Eugene. “Our young people are looking to do the right thing by seeking employment opportunities that will enable them to engage in constructive, skill-building activities over the summer. We must do everything possible to expand the program so that it includes many more of our youth.”
The de Blasio Administration did not get back to this paper at press time on whether they will support a $14.2 million increase for SYEP under the current $73.9 billion budget proposal now being negotiated with the City Council.
De Blasio’s press office referred other questions to Zustovich.
Zustovich said 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.
“DYCD appreciates the ongoing support from the City Council, as well as any additional state funding and private support to provide as many summer jobs as possible,” he said.