Mayor de Blasio Announces Applications Are Open For The 2021 Summer Youth Employment Program

March 22, 2021

Mayor Bill de Blasio today announced that young people from Harlem to Hollis between the ages of 14 and 21 can apply through April 23 for the 2021 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).

The initiative, which was launched in 1963, returns this year after the all-virtual SYEP Summer Bridge 2020 was created to adapt to the realities of the COVID-19 pandemic last summer.

Beginning on July 6, the six-week program will offer SYEP participants the opportunity to explore their interests and career pathways, build workplace skills, and engage in learning experiences that help develop their social, civic and leadership skills.

By participating in the structured project- and work-based opportunities, NYC youth are better prepared for careers of the future and to help the City recover in the months and years to come.

I am thrilled the Summer Youth Employment Program will connect 70,000 young people to paid opportunities, and I encourage everyone interested to apply!

“Young New Yorkers have been through so much this year, and our recovery cannot leave them behind,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “I am thrilled the Summer Youth Employment Program will connect 70,000 young people to paid opportunities, and I encourage everyone interested to apply!”

“Many of New York City’s successful leaders started their careers with a summer job or a mentor who helped build their skills and self-confidence,” said First Lady Chirlane McCray. “After a challenging year of social distancing and remote learning, the return of the Summer Youth Employment Program will restore a sense of normalcy for thousands of young people, provide income and give them the tools they need to launch successful careers.”

“SYEP is a vital and resilient New York City institution that, like the city itself, has grown and evolved over the years,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Phil Thompson. “This year’s program builds upon the traditional SYEP model to further incorporate connections between education and the world of work, while supporting participants in exploring potential careers and building their skills as community leaders.”

“The Summer Youth Employment Program has been a rite of passage for young New Yorkers for nearly 60 years. This summer, SYEP takes on the added role of bringing back a semblance of normalcy to the lives of tens of thousands of youth whose lives were upended by COVID-19. The opportunities offered by SYEP will go a long way toward helping teens and young adults learn critical skills and map out their futures—and become important contributors to New York City’s recovery from the pandemic,” said DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong.

“SYEP is a critical component in our plan to work with community-based organizations to provide students with a holistic summer experience that includes opportunities to heal, grow and dream of their futures,” said Schools Chancellor Meisha Porter. “Now more than ever, we must meet New York City’s young people where they are and open doors for our most vulnerable students who have been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. I’m confident that this year’s participants will have meaningful work experiences while they learn work skills and earn a salary, restoring a sense of normalcy to their lives and putting them on the path to success in their future careers.”

“The full return of SYEP this summer will serve as a powerful affirmation that New York City is on the road to recovery from the public health and economic crises we have faced since last spring,” said David Fischer, executive director of the NYC Center for Youth Employment (CYE). “CYE is proud to support DYCD, DOE and other partnering City agencies, and thousands of employers hosting SYEP participants in creating valuable experiences that will help propel young New Yorkers into a brighter future.”

“The Summer Youth Employment Program and Ladders for Leaders have for years been an emblematic example of the power of partnership,” said Daniele Baierlein and JL Paniagua Valle, Co-executive Directors of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “Thank you to employers throughout the City for providing tens of thousands of young people with critical professional development this summer and bringing New York City closer to recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.”

This summer, young people will be connected to diverse opportunities through robust partnerships between community-based organizations, employers, and their schools. Older youth aged 16-21 who participate in the program will be placed in jobs, work-based experiences, and technical and professional training that will expose them to promising career pathways, meet their unique needs and interests and develop new skills.

SYEP’s youngest participants, aged 14-15, can take part in structured project-based learning experiences that will provide a work-readiness foundation along with enriching career exploration and opportunities to develop social and emotional skills. Specialized programming is also available for New Yorkers who are 21 to 24 years old.

Opportunities are available through the following initiatives

SYEP Community-Based: Provides NYC youth between the ages of 14 and 21 with career exploration opportunities and paid work experience. There are opportunities with employers in all five boroughs, including health care, retail, information technology, construction, industrial/manufacturing, food service, media, and business/professional services.

CareerReady SYEP: Designed for students between the ages of 14 and 21 from select DOE schools to provide career exploration opportunities and paid work experience.

SYEP Emerging Leaders: Provides certain eligible NYC youth between the ages of 14 and 24 with career exploration opportunities and paid work experience.

Additional eligibility requirements

  • Homeless & Runaway (residing in shelters)
  • Justice/Court-Involved
  • Foster Care
  • Receiving Preventive Services through Administration for Children’s Services (ACS)
  • Human Resources Administration (HRA) participants receiving Cash Assistance via Business Link
  • Students from Access and Alternative Schools
  • Gender-Based Violence

SYEP Map to $uccess and SYEP CareerFirst: Offers NYC youth between the ages of 14 and 24 from select NYCHA developments identified by the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety (MAP) with career exploration opportunities and paid work experience.

Outstanding high school and college students can also take part in Ladders for Leaders, a competitive professional summer internship component of SYEP that connects youth with leading corporations, non-profit organizations and government agencies in New York City.

Past employer partners have included A+E Networks, Amalgamated Bank, AppNexus, Bank of America, Deloitte, Emmis Communications, KPMG, Maimonides Hospital, Medidata, the MET, NASDAQ, NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC), NYC Department of Parks & Recreation, NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, NYC Department of Buildings (DOB), Tishman Speyer, Rudin Management, Vox Media, Seven Squared Media, Sotheby’s, and Y&R.

To ensure participant safety and meet the changing needs of employers during the COVID-19 recovery, all project-based learning and work-based opportunities may take place online, in-person or in a hybrid environment.

SYEP participants in work-based experiences are paid in hourly wages at the prevailing minimum wage; younger youth participating in project-based experiences receive a stipend.

SYEP applications can be completed online or at participating community-based organizations, depending on the program option. Online applications are available at For more information, call 311 or DYCD Community Connect (1-800-246-4646).

“At a time when both the income and opportunity that SYEP provides is critically needed, I am glad to see the number of available slots double from the reduced program last year. At the same, they must ultimately not only be restored to pre-pandemic levels but expanded to universal youth employment for anyone who wants it. This investment in and opportunity for our young people is crucial to our city’s recovery and a Renewed Deal for New York,” said Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

“Programs like SYEP have historically been a vital lifeline for many youths throughout our city. Last year, we held a hack-a-thon that crowdsourced ideas from young people around Brooklyn on how to adapt the program to meet the needs of the moment. Their creativity and passion for SYEP were evident in their thoughtful proposals. We are thrilled to see the program return this summer, serving young people of various ages and backgrounds. We have seen the significant emotional toll the COVID-19 pandemic has taken on young people over this past year, especially those living in underserved communities. By giving them an opportunity to explore various interests, build career skills, and earn some money, we can begin the process of making them whole again and overcoming the trauma of this past year. I encourage our young people to apply, and for the City to deepen its commitment to a thriving youth employment program,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

“The Summer Youth Employment Program has offered New York City’s young people invaluable opportunities to explore professional life through real workplace experiences for decades, said Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie.” “Last year COVID-19 arose and altered what we once knew as normal, making it difficult to ensure SYEP could be operated safely and efficiently, as we were still uncertain of what was to come. Knowing that this summer SYEP will once again be fully operational is exciting. The program will allow thousands of New York City youth to continue their professional development journey, while also providing them with pay checks that many rely on and look forward to. ”

“The Summer Youth Employment Program provides invaluable experiential employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands of New York City’s youth”, said Senator Roxanne J. Persaud, Chair of the Senate Social Services Committee. “This is a critical time for New York State and particularly for our young people. SYEP youth working at community-based organizations this summer will be aiding in New York’s recovery from the pandemic.”

We receive with open arms the fantastic news that once again our city will run its Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). I’m proud to have fought to the max for SYEP for almost two decades, especially during my time as former Chair of the Education Committee in the City Council and co-chair of the Black Latino and Asian Caucus.

“We receive with open arms the fantastic news that once again our city will run its Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). I’m proud to have fought to the max for SYEP for almost two decades, especially during my time as former Chair of the Education Committee in the City Council and co-chair of the Black Latino and Asian Caucus. I know so many young leaders in our city who got their start in SYEP, including my own Chief of Staff, Johanna Garcia! I still hold on to the great memories from working with SYEP participants in my office before it was suspended last year. We had amazing young people who contributed so much to my team while developing valuable research and writing skills, office culture, event planning, and civic engagement. This program has historically served my district’s youth with an opportunity to explore their interests and career pathways. With this decision, our NYC youth will be better prepared for future careers and help this City recover from this pandemic,” said Harlem Senator Robert Jackson.

“The Summer Youth Employment program is a win-win for all involved: employers gain motivated summer employees, and teens and young adults have the opportunity to explore different careers and earn some much-needed money — something that’s extremely important now given the economic challenges of the pandemic,” said Assembly Member Steven Cymbrowitz. “I encourage all interested youth to apply as soon as possible.”

“Summer youth offers opportunities for young people all over NYC to have a positive work experience and earn money. This is crucially important now as we come out of this pandemic. I applaud the mayor for prioritizing summer youth this year,” said Assembly Member Harvey Epstein.

“The Summer Youth Employment Program is a lifeline for young New Yorkers, and this Council is proud to have been a supporter of this program for years. As we continue to battle this pandemic, it is critical that SYEP jobs and training continue to be available to our youth. I want to thank Council Member Debi Rose for her tireless work and leadership to ensure SYEP is accessible for young New Yorkers,” said Council Speaker Corey Johnson.

“After more than a year of remote and blended learning the structured, skill-building resources of the Summer Youth Employment Program are needed more than ever. As a former SYEP worker myself, I know firsthand how the program’s project- and work-based opportunities can help prepare young people for careers of tomorrow. I encourage youth from every corner of the city to take advantage of this opportunity and apply online,” said Council Member Debi Rose.

“This year’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) is even more meaningful to our young people after a year of hybrid and virtual learning, interrupted schedules, and lost opportunities to see friends and loved ones,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “I encourage all of New York City’s youth to apply for the six-week program, gain important paid work experience, and develop new skills. I hope our young people have a fun, educational, and fulfilling summer.”

“I’m excited to see that the Summer Youth Employment Program will be returning this year,” said Council Member Costa Constantinides. “My own path to public service was forged by the experience and work ethic I gained while working summer jobs, so it’s important that we give the next generation of New Yorkers the same opportunities. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for bringing back this critical program.”

Summer Youth Employment is one of the most important tools teenagers have that can lead to full employment during their adulthood. I benefited greatly from summer youth employment as a teenager and understand how important it can be in a child’s life. I applaud the Mayor’s steadfast support for Summer Youth Employment and the safety measures put in place for the teenagers and workers,” said Council Member Darma Diaz.

“As the former Chair of the Committee on Youth Services and a lifelong advocate for expanded opportunities for youth, I am pleased to join the Mayor’s Office in supporting the 2021 Summer Youth Employment Program. For many years, this program has provided invaluable on-the-job training for students who have the mindset and ambition to make positive contributions to the community. It has helped pave the way for young people to embark on rewarding careers that otherwise, they may not have pursued. I have been a vocal advocate for its success and expansion, and despite the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic, I am delighted that we are still able to provide this very important foundation for job training. This program demonstrates what is possible when we work together to help our students engage in activities that benefit the community, and I encourage them to enroll and take the first steps towards career success, ” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene.

“The opening of the application for the summer youth employment program comes at a time when many high school students are preparing to go back to their school buildings and thinking about summer plans,” said Council Member Barry S. Grodenchik. “The program offers a valuable opportunity for young people to earn money, gain work experience, and once again interact in person with both mentors and peers. SYEP continues to offer young New Yorkers the chance for a rewarding and productive summer.”

“The Summer Youth Employment Program is a great opportunity for the youth of our city enter the workforce and begin to build skillsets they will carry with them the rest of their lives. I strongly encourage both parents and young people to learn more about this important program and take advantage of everything it has to offer,” said Council Member Peter Koo.

“After marking the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, its devastating toll remains unknown as millions of households continue to face economic, housing, and food insecurity. The road to recovery will be difficult, but it begins with expanded access to programs that will help close the poverty gap within the hardest-hit communities. The Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) is a lifeline in many ways, providing youth and young adults with opportunities to explore careers, cultivate relationships with peers and mentors while supplementing their household income. As a city, investing in our youth is critical to building a sustainable future for all,” said Council Member Farah N. Louis.

“The Summer Youth Employment Program has been the first work experience for so many native New Yorkers, including myself. Many young people have been able to navigate their first workplace experience through this opportunity, gaining skills and lessons that last a lifetime. After our fight last summer to keep this initiative in place, we are looking forward to sharing this resource within the Southeast Queens community and continuing to return to some normalcy in how we engage and enrich the lives of our young scholars,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller.

“After what has been a difficult year adapting to remote learning and limited in-person interactions, the 2021 Summer Youth Employment Program will bring a new sense of normal and opportunities for New York City’s young people,” said Council Member Francisco Moya. “Programs like this that expose youth to diverse opportunities and build their skills are critical to their success and the future of New York City as we recover from COVID-19. I encourage young people to apply.”

“One of the greatest investments our city can make is to fund programming like SYEP, which provides young New Yorkers with opportunities to develop job, civic, and social skills, while helping them contribute to their families’ income. I encourage every eligible young person to apply and urge my colleagues in government to preserve and expand this essential program going forward,” said Council Member Carlina Rivera.

“I am proud to again partner with SYEP. Not only does this program employ thousands of New York City’s youth – it also provides valuable job training and work experience that help to shape careers,” said Council Member Eric Ulrich.

Find out more about SYEP here

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