Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYC Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) Commissioner Bill Chong today announced the return of the six-week Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). SYEP will play a pivotal role in the City’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic by providing paid experiences for up to 75,000 teens and young adults this summer.
“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.”
“SYEP reflects much of what is best about New York City. This year’s program incorporates and reinforces the priorities of our Recovery for All, including focused support for NYC’s rebound from COVID through the City Cleanup Corps and the newly launched CUNY Recovery Corps, as well as deep connections to our Minority and Women-Owned Businesses and other small businesses and community organizations across the five boroughs. At the same time, SYEP participants will gain knowledge and experience that can help put them on a long-term path toward career success,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives J. Phillip Thompson.
“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 Johnson, Youth Services Chair Debi Rose, and Finance Chair Daniel Dromm for their tireless support of SYEP,” said DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong.
“SYEP is both a beloved NYC summer institution and a powerful intervention to help put young New Yorkers on a path to career success,” said David Fischer, Executive Director of the NYC Center for Youth Employment. “Over the past eight years, the program has doubled in size, built stronger connections to year-round learning and high-growth economic sectors, and targeting services toward those youth who will benefit most from a quality summer work experience. This year promises to be the biggest and best in SYEP’s long history.”
“The impact the Summer Youth Employment Program will have on the next generation of young New Yorkers is immeasurable,” said Daniele Baierlein and Jorge Luis Paniagua Valle, Co-Executive Directors of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City. “Not only by expanding this paid internship opportunity for teens and young adults who are eager to learn and contribute their talents to society will broaden their horizons, but it will also serve as an important step towards New York City’s recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. We could not be more grateful to the employers who have partnered with us to make this happen.”
The Administration has more than doubled the size of the program from 2013, when SYEP served 35,997 participants in the last year of the Bloomberg administration, to 2019, when 74,453 youth participated. Over the same period, the City’s direct investment in the program increased from around $21 million to $134 million. The increase covered the expansion of the program, an increase in the New York State minimum wage to $15 per hour, and the development of new program options within SYEP.
At the height of the pandemic last summer, more than 35,000 young people participated through the virtual SYEP Summer Bridge initiative in order to keep participants and providers safe. The return of SYEP this summer means jobs and programming may be held in-person, remote or a hybrid combination of both.
Teens aged 14 and 15 will learn about career opportunities and make a difference in their communities while receiving a stipend for project-based activities, and young people aged 16–21 have the chance to improve their work readiness skills and explore career pathways through summer jobs paid at the prevailing minimum wage. Young adults aged 22-24 who face employment barriers or reside in NYCHA developments may be eligible for special programming.
Participants who are part of SYEP’s CUNY Recovery Corps will work on projects supporting the City’s communities as they continue to get back on their feet following the pandemic.
“CUNY students are making history by reviving, renewing and rebuilding NYC this summer. CUNY Recovery Corps is a special Summer Youth Employment Program for CUNY undergraduate students. Through a collaboration with the Mayor’s Office, the City Council, the Department of Youth and Community Development and hundreds of employer-partners throughout the City, CUNY Recovery Corps students are working on projects to support small businesses, public health organizations, community-based nonprofits, government agencies and schools. Students will learn and serve while gaining paid professional training across the City,” said City University of New York Chancellor Félix V. Matos Rodríguez.
As a result of a national effort to encourage young people to save and make healthy financial choices, the number of “banked” SYEP participants has increased 500 percent since the start of the initiative in 2014. Last summer, at the height of the pandemic, over 59 percent of young people signed up for direct deposit. The multi-year initiative is funded by the Cities for Financial Empowerment (CFE) Fund and the Citi Foundation.
“A summer job is an invaluable experience for young people, and often the first opportunity they have to develop professional skills, understand how to manage their first paychecks, and lay the foundation for a strong financial future,” said Brandee McHale, Head of Citi Community Investing and Development and President of the Citi Foundation. “These opportunities are especially critical this summer as New York City continues its COVID-19 economic recovery efforts, and the Citi Foundation is proud to play a role in helping to connect and empower young people through our continued collaboration with the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund.”
Additionally, New York-based Skillshare, with support from DYCD and the Center for Youth Employment, is continuing its support for SYEP with a donation of $6.8 million in scholarships to their online curriculum in the form of free, three-month Skillshare Premium Memberships for more than 100,000 youth. The membership will give NYC young people thousands of virtual classes in creativity, career building, tech, marketing, entrepreneurship, professional development, and more.
“New York City is home to so many aspiring entrepreneurs and creators who will no doubt make their mark on their world,” said Skillshare CEO Matt Cooper. “We are honored to invest in their dreams by donating these scholarships and excited for them to join the Skillshare community.”
This summer, the NYPD is expanding its partnership with SYEP to better meet the needs and interests of young people and serve the largest number of participants to date. Youth will be placed at over 150 precincts and NYPD worksites in a variety of jobs that will show the breadth of career opportunities within the Department, including Office Assistant, Architectural Engineer, Community Associate, Mail Clerk, Property Clerk, and Camp Assistant. The NYPD will also support 200 younger youth with project-based learning opportunities through the NYPD “Options” curriculum, which will include workshops in Financial Management, Community Building, Web Design, Podcast Production, and more.
“As police, we often encounter young people who have had limited options. Part of our calling is to help kids make better choices, expand opportunities, and help them reach their fullest potential,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “New York City kids are the future, and this program brings young people to every precinct, PSA, transit district and specialty unit where they will help improve our City.”
SYEP is the nation’s largest summer youth employment initiative, and since 1963 has provided New York City young people between the ages of 14 and 24 with up to six weeks of entry-level experience at worksites in all five boroughs. With the support of the Center for Youth Employment, the City has expanded the Ladders for Leaders professional internship program and opportunities for young people who are homeless, court-involved or in foster care.
Participants are compensated for their work at diverse worksites that include government agencies, hospitals, summer camps, nonprofits, small businesses, law firms, museums, sports enterprises and retail. Specialized programming for disabled, foster care, runaway/homeless and court-involved young people are also available. SYEP offers workshops on job readiness, career exploration and financial literacy, and opportunities to continue education and social growth.
Studies show that SYEP improves school attendance, offers new skills, reduces incarceration rates and keeps teens and young adults safe—including youth who wouldn’t otherwise have access to paying jobs. Participants have the opportunity to explore their interests and career pathways, develop workplace skills and engage in learning experiences that help in developing their social, civic and leadership skills. By participating in structured project and work-based opportunities, NYC youth are better prepared for careers of the future.
“Youth employment programs are immeasurably valuable because they not only support working families, but they allow our future leaders to get their feet in the door in professional settings they wouldn’t otherwise have available to them,” said Danielle Ellman, CEO of Commonpoint Queens. “I started my professional journey as a 14-year-old summer camp counselor thanks to the Summer Youth Employment Program. I can’t imagine where I would be today without the opportunities that followed thanks to this significant program.”
“Last year was very challenging for us as a community-based organization and a provider of youth services. We are thrilled to be back, to offer in-person services and life-changing opportunities for our youth. We are overwhelmed by the amount of talent our youth bring and are excited to see them get back to work. SYEP provides an unforgettable opportunity for youth to engage with each other, learn about the richness of available career options, and the chance to learn new skills and valuable life lessons,” said Julissa Figueroa Peña, Youth Workforce Program Director, Children’s Arts & Science Workshops, Inc.
“The Summer Youth Employment Program has always been a priority for this Council, and I am thrilled that it is back and bigger than ever. These jobs are a lifeline for many participants and provide crucial work and leadership skills that last well into adulthood. We know the pandemic was particularly hard on our young people, and we also know that programs like SYEP help them recover. This is an amazing achievement to celebrate. I thank all of my Council colleagues for fighting for this amazing program,” said Speaker Corey Johnson.
“The return of Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) is an important milestone in our City’s recovery and a tremendous boon to our City’s young people,” said Council Member Adrienne Adams. “Participating teens and young adults will not only gain work experience and develop new skills, but also receive a stipend that will go a long way to helping our families. I hope all of our SYEP participants have a safe, joyful, and great summer!”
“Once again, I am excited by the return of the Summer Youth Employment Program. SYEP participants will be connected to diverse opportunities through robust partnerships between community-based organizations, employers and their schools,”
“Once again, I am excited by the return of the Summer Youth Employment Program. SYEP participants will be connected to diverse opportunities through robust partnerships between community-based organizations, employers and their schools,” said Council Member Diana Ayala. “As the City recovers from COVID-19, SYEP will provide work-based experiences that expose our youth to promising career pathways, allow them to develop new skills and meet their unique needs and interests. In addition, they will be able to participate in structured project-based learning experiences that will provide a work-readiness foundation and opportunities to develop social and emotional skills. I want to thank Mayor DeBlasio and Commissioner Bill Chong for the return of the program.”
“I am pleased that this year’s budget has increased the funding to allow for more New York City youth to participate in the exemplary Summer Youth Employment Program. I am especially appreciative of the expanded number of CUNY (City University of New York) students who will be part of the CUNY Recovery Corps, which allow them to receive financial benefits while they develop specific essential work experience, ‘soft’ interpersonal skills, and have an opportunity to explore career possibilities. I look forward to the continued expansion of SYEP to the point where every applicant will be afforded an opportunity to be offered a position,” said Council Member Inez Barron, Chair of the NYC Council Committee on Higher Education.
“SYEP is the key to building a brighter future, especially as our local economy recovers from the pandemic,” said Council Member Selvena Brooks-Powers. “Young New Yorkers deserve every opportunity to develop new skills, connect with lifelong mentors, and jumpstart their careers. SYEP keeps our youth engaged year-round, and empowers them with the tools and experience they need to succeed.”
“I applaud the Mayor and NYC Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) Commissioner Bill Chong for announcing the return of the six-week Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). Young teens and young adults will receive (6) weeks of paid work experience. These young adults will be able to assist their individual households post-COVID-19 and simultaneously receive work experience that they will carry with them forever,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera.
“Without SYEP, many young people would not have the opportunity to explore a new career or learn a new skill,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “SYEP brings together young New Yorkers from different neighborhoods and different backgrounds and gives them a shared experience that they otherwise would not have. I am excited for the 75,000 students who will be able to try something new and get paid for their hard work.”
“The continuance of SYEP is the clearest sign that we are looking at the final days of the pandemic and creating opportunity for our youth to share in the economic recovery of our great City. SYEP has served our City faithfully for decades. So many adults of all ages attribute their first work experience to SYEP. I stand with SYEP to make this summer the most meaningful ever for its participants,” said Council Member Darma Diaz.
“I am so pleased to see the return of our Summer Youth Employment Program. The program which is set to hire 75,000 youth between the ages of 14 and 24 has been instrumental in giving our young people opportunities to learn a skill and expand upon their current skill levels. As a public school teacher, I saw firsthand the impact this program had on our students and families. Rather than keeping education within the classroom, our youth will develop their skills even further by the availability of opportunities in the workplace. I thank Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Chong for recognizing how important this is for our communities. As the program has expanded over the years to be more inclusive as well as meeting the NYS $15 minimum wage, having these opportunities for youth is vital to New York’s future,” said Council Member Eric Dinowitz.
“The Summer Youth Employment Program is a vital part of our saving summer package that we were able to restore in this year’s budget process. By restoring this program we are giving an inclusive chance to all the young people of our City. I am thrilled to know that more New Yorkers will have the option of working this summer and that youth can add more experience to their resumes. Learning outside of the classroom is just as important as inside. We need to continue to protect and empower youth, they will be the next leaders, economic force, and the future of New York City,” said Council Member Daniel Dromm.
“As the former Chair of the Committee on Youth Services and a lifelong advocate for expanded opportunities and resources for youth, I am delighted that the Summer Youth Employment Program is providing up to 75,000 job slots for young people throughout New York City. We are in a critical moment to get people back in the workforce and to help reinvigorate our economy as we recover from COVID-19, and the Summer Youth Employment Program will be an important part of that process. I want to commend and thank Mayor Bill de Blasio and DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong for their continued support of career advancement for young people across the five boroughs. I am confident that these partnerships will allow us to create more positive opportunities for our young men and women as they shape the future of New York City,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene.
“The Summer Youth Employment Program arrives at a time when many high school and college students have been indoors for too long and are ready for engaging 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 return of SYEP to our City this summer after such a difficult 2020 represents the return of opportunity and training for tens of thousands of our City’s youth,” said Council Member Ben Kallos. “During the height of the pandemic one of the programs I fought hardest to keep was SYEP because I know it has a real positive impact on the lives of so many young people in New York City and just overall makes our City better in the short term and the long run. It is a worthwhile investment that is crucial to our City’s well-being. I am happy to the program is fully restored and grateful for the work the City has done to bring it back. Thank you to Mayor de Blasio and DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong for their roles in making this happen.”
“The Summer Youth Employment Program is one of our most valuable programs for engaging youth and providing them with a wealth of diverse experiences. For many young people it’s often their first job experience, giving them valuable professional skills that last a lifetime. After fighting to keep the program last year, it’s exciting to be welcoming this new cohort for in-person opportunities,” said Council Member I. Daneek Miller, Co-Chair of the Black, Latino, and Asian Caucus.
“This year’s Summer Youth Employment Program is putting youth front and center in our recovery. It is giving youth the opportunity to rebuild our City, earn wages and participate in experiences that will put them on a success path. Through this summer program thousands of teens and young adults will remain learning, productive and out of trouble––this is how we invest in our youth and in our City,” said Council Member Francisco Moya.
“The Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) has served as a springboard for career exploration and long-term economic security for generations of young New Yorkers,” said Senator Roxanne J. Persaud, Chair of the NYS Senate Social Services Committee. “Each year, SYEP connects 75,000 NYC youth (and thousands more across our state) with an opportunity to gain valuable experience through serving their communities. I will continue to ensure that New York State funds this invaluable program.”
We receive with open arms the fantastic news that once again our City will run its Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).
“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. Today our NYC youth will be better prepared for future careers and help this City recover from this pandemic,” said State Senator Robert Jackson.
Employers and worksites looking to support New York City’s youth employment programs, including SYEP, should visit www.nyc.gov/syep.
Photo credit: Dominicus SYEP Group Picture.