This summer, New York City will support 100,000 jobs for youth aged 14-24 thanks in large part to a $79 million investment in the Summer Youth Employment Program, announced Tuesday by Mayor Eric Adams.

Adams said 90,000 of the job opportunities will come from the SYEP — the largest number in the program’s 60-year history — and 10,000 will come from other city programs. The increase in SYEP jobs, which has a previous high of 75,000, is due to a $79 million investment in Adam’s upcoming 2023 budget, he said.

“Young people in this city should have the opportunity to work or learn this summer, and this historic investment will help secure a better future for tens of thousands while helping to make our city safer.

“We owe it to our children to give them every opportunity to thrive, and this expansion will do just that.”

Mayor Eric Adams has expanded the City’s Summer Youth Employment Program to provide a record number of job opportunities. Photo: Mateo Ruiz Gonzalez for BK Reader.

Adams added that the program’s expansion is part of a preventive approach to high crime rates, which he outlines in his Blueprint to End Gun Violence.

The SYEP program typically runs for six weeks in July and August, and provides teens with paid opportunities to explore potential career interests and allows them to engage in learning experiences that help develop professional, social, civic and leadership skills.

According to a press release sent by the mayor’s office, a 2021 study found that SYEP participation lowered participants’ chances of being arrested during that summer by 17% and by 23% for felony arrests. Other research has found that SYEP youth are significantly less likely to be incarcerated in New York State more than five years after their participation in the program.

New York City Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams said that he had long pushed for the expansion of SYEP, “a critical investment in our young people and one that is about so much more than a paycheck.”

“Data shows that the number one way to cut violent crime arrests among young people is a job, and I’m glad that Mayor Adams has made this program such a foundational part of combating gun violence at its root and uplifting young people and their communities,” he said.

Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso said that “creating productive, safe, enriching activities for our youth is necessary to keep them busy, out of trouble, and working towards bigger goals over the summer.”

“Summer youth employment opportunities also help expose our youth to professional experiences that could help them stand apart from other college applicants, or expose them to potential career decisions — both valuable to their growth.”

Applications for SYEP CareerReady and Special Initiatives tracks opened on Feb. 14, and the general community-based application period for all youth opens on March 1.

The CareerReady track is designed for students between the ages of 14 and 21 from select DOE schools, while the Special Initiatives track offers tailored opportunities for youth aged 14-24 who are:

  • Residents of select NYCHA developments;
  • Homeless or have run away;
  • Justice- or court-involved;
  • In foster care;
  • Receiving preventative services through the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS);
  • New York City Human Resources Administration participants receiving Cash Assistance via Business Link;
  • Students from Access and alternative schools; or
  • Have experienced gender-based violence.

Anna Bradley-Smith

Anna Bradley-Smith is Brooklyn-based reporter with bylines in NBC, VICE, Slate and others. Follow her on Twitter @annabradsmith.

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