Photo credit: City of New York
NYC Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD) Commissioner Bill Chong announced on July 6, 2021 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.
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.
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.
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 projects and work-based opportunities, NYC youth are better prepared for careers of the future.
Employers and worksites looking to support New York City’s youth employment programs, including SYEP, should visit www.nyc.gov/syep.