Yesterday, local City Council Members celebrated a handshake deal for the city’s budget for fiscal year 2017, which includes 60,000 slots for the Youth Summer Employment Program.
City Council and Mayor Bill DeBlasio announced the $82.1 billion budget, which represents an increase of 4 percent over spending last year, reports the New York Times. The proposed spending includes funding for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) and the Crisis Management System dedicated to curbing gun violence in NYC neighborhoods.
This was a victory for New York City youth, according to two local Council Members Jumaane D, Williams, representing District 54, and Mathieu Eugene, representing District 40, who rallied at City Hall in April to garner support for the SYEP.
The budget allocates a $38 million dollar baseline investment to fund 60,000 Summer Youth Employment positions—up from 54,000 last year. This figure is a historic high, according to a statement released by Council Member Mathieu Eugene.
“The Summer Youth Employment Program gives teenagers and young adults an opportunity to gain skills through work experience,” said Eugene, Chairman of the Youth Services Committee. “This program has always had a positive impact in the 40th District and throughout New York City, and with the historic increase to 60,000 jobs, more young people than ever will be able to make a positive impact.”
In addition to summer employment positions that run for 6 weeks, the budget includes funding for 6,000 year round jobs for youth.
Council Member Jumaane D. Williams said in a statement:
“This is a budget that represents progress. Since the beginning of negotiations, the Council made clear Youth Employment, as a central priority – both Summer Youth and Year Round employment. More importantly, we need a true pathway to universal Summer Youth Employment program. As all of the experts say, and we know, that employing young people means stronger families, crime reductions and – literally, young people remaining alive.”
In addition to allocating money, the DeBlasio administration agreed to fund a short-lived task force dedicated to the Summer Youth Employment program, lasting from July 2016 to January 2017, to monitor the program’s efficacy and impact next year’s preliminary budget.
The SYEP program placed 55,000 youth ages 14-24 in summer jobs last year, but the program received over 110,000 applications, according to a report released by the Community Service Society.
Program applicants are awarded jobs based on a lottery system, but it seems that half of kids who applied last year got turned away based on the luck-of-the-draw.
In the past 4 years, Councilman Williams’ office has employed 12 SYEP students, mostly from district 45. Students are put to work on website development, community cleanup projects, and event organizing — mainly movie nights and the senior citizens concert, a representative of Willams office told us. The goal is to provide kids with an opportunity to work on public service and start building their career.
The City Council’s budget also allocated an additional $8,000 to the Crisis Management System, which offers mental health counseling in schools, hospital coordination for shooting responses, legal services, and dedicated jobs for areas most affected with gun violence, according to Council Member Jumaane D. Williams.
Funding for SYEP is part of the proposed investment of $100 million into youth services programs, including $16 million to expand Comprehensive After School elementary school programming, and $17.5 million to fund School’s Out NYC for middle schoolers, according to the New York City Council. We will continue following the possible development of programs in school district 22.
The council votes on the 2016-17 City budget next week, which is planned to go into effect on July 1st.