Gearing Up For Summer Youth Employment Budget Fight

City Council Members Jumaane Williams (East Flatbush/Flatbush/Midwood) and Mathieu Eugene (Kensington/ Prospect-Lefferts/Ditmas Park) are turning up the heat on the de Blasio to call for a significantly increased youth employment program, including universal summer youth jobs and doubled year-round youth jobs.
Williams joined the Community Service Society of New York (CSS) and an interdisciplinary group of advocates from law enforcement, youth services, legal services and violence interrupters, on the steps of City Hall this week to highlight a recent CSS report and make the case for universal summer jobs, and outlines how the City can improve the existing Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).
City Councilman Jumaane Williams
City Councilman Jumaane Williams

“Summer jobs save lives and have the potential to transform our communities,” said Williams. “We know students who participate in youth employment have stronger test scores, are more involved in school, are less likely to be incarcerated and are more likely to stay alive. We’re asking the administration to support our communities, reduce crime and improve education by fully funding universal summer youth jobs and doubling year-round youth jobs.”

The CSS proposal cites data showing that youth employment remains at abysmally low levels, having never recovered from the Great Recession.  The report also shows the positive impact that summer jobs have on a range of academic, behavioral, and employment-related outcomes for youth. Summer jobs have been shown to reduce “summer melt” (the decreases in academic skills that happen during idle months); reduce risky behavior; improve chances of longer-term career success; and infuse our public, nonprofit, and private sector employers with youthful energy and effort.
Despite the program’s success, the City funded only 55,000 program slots even though over 100,000 youth applied for SYEP.
Specifically, Williams and CSS are calling on the city to fund 100,000 summer jobs by April 1 at a cost of $131 million, an increase of $95 million ver the FY 2015 budget.
City Council Member Mathieu Eugene
City Council Member Mathieu Eugene

Meanwhile Eugene, Chair of the Committee on Youth Services is held a hearing today dubbed “Oversight: The Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP)”  to examine the future of the important programs New York City’s youth rely on, including SYEP and summer and after school programs.

Last year, Eugene joined with his colleagues and youth advocates to convince the Administration to restore summer and after school program slots for more than 34,000 children.

“Educational and recreational programs for our young people, especially our vulnerable children and teenagers, are an investment for our city,” said Eugene. “These programs help keep our youth on a positive path and any cuts to these programs would be detrimental for children and parents in every borough. It is our moral obligation to make sure that we provide opportunities for young people in every neighborhood.”