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Mayor de Blasio, Council Speaker Mark-Viverito, DYCD Commissioner Chong Kick Off Summer Youth Employment Program with Record 60,000 Jobs and 10,000 Worksites

July 15, 2016

Unprecedented $92 million budget, including more than $72 million a year in total baseline funding, creates the highest number of jobs for NYC youth in the program’s 53-year history

NEW YORK––Mayor Bill de Blasio today joined City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong, elected officials, employers and dozens of young people at Henry Street Settlement in Manhattan to kick off the Summer Youth Employment Program. SYEP is expected to employ a record 60,000 participants at 10,000 worksites this summer. Started in 1963, SYEP is the nation’s largest summer youth employment initiative, and provides 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.

“Every New York City youth, of every background, should have the opportunity to foster their interests and make connections through their first job. With our Summer Youth Employment Program, we are leveraging the resources of the City, nonprofits and New York’s bustling business community to bring this opportunity to a record number of youth across the city this year,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “When more young people work, we ensure the success of the next generation, improve the long-term strength of our workforce and our economy, and take another step towards becoming a city with opportunity for all."

“When we invest in young people we’re investing in our futures. With the Council’s $39 million baseline funding for summer youth jobs, we’re taking a strong stance that providing youth—especially those that are disenfranchised – with their first paid job experience can be a life changing one. I want to thank the Administration, DYCD, and my Council colleagues, especially Finance Chair Julissa Ferreras-Copeland and Council Member Mathieu Eugene for their unwavering advocacy in making sure that our City’s 60,000 young people will be able to work and create positive change in their community,” said City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito.

“When I was 14, I had my first job as a swim instructor. It taught me the importance of showing up on time, treating people with respect and staying focused. It helped build the foundation for future employment,” said First Lady and Mayor’s Fund Board Chair Chirlane McCray. “I am so excited to see 60,000 young New Yorkers – some of whom are in foster care or living in a shelter – getting the same experience I did through the Summer Youth Employment Program. With the help of the Mayor’s Fund and hundreds of partners in the private and public sectors, the City has created work opportunities in many different fields to match the interests of young New Yorkers. We know that these first jobs are a good foundation for a bright future.”

“My first job was with the Summer Youth Employment Program, and I know countless New Yorkers can say the same,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Richard Buery. “We should be incredibly proud, as a city, that we are giving our young men and women meaningful, real-life work experiences. And we thank our partners for stepping up to employ and mentor our future leaders.”

“SYEP is not only opening a door of opportunity for 60,000 young New Yorkers this year, it is training our homegrown talent pool to help our employers better compete in the 21st century marketplace. In partnership with the Center for Youth Employment, this program utilizes the City’s wealth of private, public and non-profit resources to create life-changing opportunities for young New Yorkers. I am proud to work with all of our partners who are helping us create a city where everyone has the opportunity to thrive,” said Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships.

“The Summer Youth Employment Program has been a rite of passage for me and several generations of New York City young people by providing the first rung in the ladder to joining the workforce, acquiring valuable skills, and establishing a career. I’m living proof of the power of a first job, which exposed me to the world of public service, and in no small measure was a big step in my journey to becoming a commissioner,” said DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong.

“This is a historic year for the Summer Youth Employment Program. Thanks to the partnership between the Council and the Mayor, this program will serve a record number of students. And perhaps even better, the funding is guaranteed for years to come, so that providers can develop high-quality placements and better plan for the future. As a former SYEP participant, I know there is no better investment that the City can make,” said Council Member Julissa Ferreras-Copeland, Chair of the Committee on Finance.

“For over fifty years, SYEP has been providing youth across New York City with work experience and skills that keep them on a positive path, leading to a higher level of achievement and success throughout their adult lives. I am so delighted that there are a record 60,000 participants along with 10,000 worksites for this year’s SYEP, which reflects our City’s strong commitment to young people. I commend Mayor Bill de Blasio, Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Commissioner Bill Chong and my colleagues in the City Council for working tirelessly with me to ensure that more youth than ever before benefit from being enrolled in a program that has a proven track record of transforming lives and producing future leaders in our society,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene, Chair of the Committee on Youth Services.

“As the largest youth employment initiative in the nation, the Summer Youth Employment Program has been instilling confidence, a strong work ethic and important skills for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers over the years. As a former SYEP participant, I gained invaluable experience that I took with me throughout my career. I thank Mayor de Blasio, Speaker Mark-Viverito and Commissioner Chong for reinforcing this vital program to ensure that every young person in our City has access to a paying job,” said Council Member Margaret Chin.

SYEP is part of a larger citywide strategy to expand employment services for young New Yorkers. Mayor de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City launched the NYC Center for Youth Employment, a public-private initiative with the specific goal of supporting 100,000 unique work-related experiences each year, including high-quality summer jobs, career exposure, skills-building, and supportive mentorships, by 2020. In collaboration with City agencies, employers and other stakeholders, the Center for Youth Employment is focused on increasing private sector involvement in these programs as well as evaluating the City’s youth workforce system as a whole, with an eye toward expanding effective programs and filling in gaps.

“The Mayor and City Council’s support and expansion of SYEP is providing an amazing investment in New York City’s youth and our City’s talent pipeline. In addition to the public support for these important programs, we are also deeply thankful to the public and private partners that have joined the work in providing employment opportunities that allow our young adults to foster their interests and, in the long term, strengthen their linkages to our City’s workforce and economy,” said Darren Bloch, Executive Director of the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City.

“The Center for Youth Employment is committed to helping every young New Yorker build skills and gain valuable early experience in the world of work. We are proud to support SYEP through our work to expand Ladders for Leaders and Vulnerable Youth, both of which are serving record numbers this summer, and grateful to DYCD and our provider and employer partners for all their efforts on behalf of our youth,” said David Fischer, Executive Director of the NYC Center for Youth Employment.

In addition to young people who get jobs as part of SYEP, hundreds of young adults will be employed through Ladders for Leaders, a nationally recognized employer-paid internship component of SYEP for youth aged 16-22. Ladders connects high achieving high school and college students with paid, professional summer internships within leading large and small businesses, nonprofits and government agencies citywide.

In May, First Lady Chirlane McCray, the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City and leaders from New York City’s real estate, hospitality, business services, media and entertainment, and fashion industries announced the launch of a new strategy and approach for creating career opportunities for New York City young adults in the Ladders for Leaders program. The Mayor’s Fund has signed on companies in every borough and of all sizes to either host 500 students in paid, specialized internships this summer or sponsor those opportunities.

These opportunities will all be privately funded with the support of founding partners: Time Warner, Hearst, Discovery Communications, Pearson, CBS Corporation, Citi Foundation, JPMorgan Chase, Deloitte, RBC Capital Markets, Guardian, the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY), the Council of Fashion Designers of America (CFDA), NYC & Company, the New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC) and the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME). 

In 2015, with the support of the Center for Youth Employment, the City more than doubled the number of Ladders for Leaders internships (1,035) and opportunities for young people who are homeless, court-involved or in foster care (2,078). Through first-time partnerships with companies like AOL, Pandora and Medidata, more than 200 Ladders for Leaders positions were created in the tech industry, up from just 44 slots in 2014.

SYEP offers workshops on job readiness, career exploration and financial literacy, and opportunities to continue education and social growth. Specialized programming for disabled, foster care, runaway/homeless and court-involved young people is also available. Participants are selected by lottery for the program, which this year runs from July 5 through August 13. For participants who began work on July 11, the program ends August 20.

SYEP and Ladders for Leaders participants work at thousands of diverse worksites, including:

  • Tech: AOL (SYEP/Ladders); AppNexus (Ladders)
  • Fashion: Coach, Kate Spade, Ralph Lauren (Ladders)
  • Cultural Institutions: Brooklyn Children’s Museum (SYEP); Museum of the Moving Image, The MET (Ladders)
  • Media: Theatreworks USA (Ladders); VP Records (Ladders)
  • Retail: Modell’s, CVS (SYEP)
  • Health Care: Maimonides Hospital (SYEP)
  • Real Estate: Rapid Realty (SYEP); Tishman Speyer (Ladders)
  • Finance: Amalgamated Bank, Bank of America (Ladders)
  • Communications: Y&R (Ladders); Emmis Communications (SYEP/Ladders)
  • Law: The Legal Aid Society (SYEP)
  • Nonprofits: Gilda’s Club, Staten Island Historical Society (SYEP); The One Club (Ladders)
  • Government Agencies: FDNY, NYPD (SYEP); NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (Ladders)

As part of the effort to reach as many young people, families and employers as possible, DYCD has teamed up with prominent New Yorkers who got their start with SYEP, including Daymond John, the star of ABC’s “Shark Tank.” The entrepreneur has recorded public service announcements to engage youth and increase employment opportunities for young people in the private sector. John grew up in Hollis, Queens, and was an SYEP participant in the 1980s.

Studies show that SYEP improves school attendance, offers new skills, and keeps teens and young adults safe—including youth who wouldn’t otherwise have access to paying jobs. A Wharton School study found that SYEP reduces incarceration rates and helps shield youth from external causes of death such as homicide.

“I am thrilled to hear that this year is the City’s largest Summer Youth Employment Program in history. As a former SYEP participant, the experience was an important and formative one that helped build confidence and independence. For many youth, SYEP provides an opportunity to be responsible and self-sufficient, and thanks to the program these young people are actively contributing to their families, households, and communities,” said Commissioner Cecile Noel of the Mayor’s Office to Combat Domestic Violence.

“As a young person, the Summer Youth Employment Program not only planted the seed of public service during my placement at the Police Academy—it gave me my first opportunity to earn a salary and gain new mentors. In my current role leading SBS, I appreciate the value that our young people in SYEP bring to government and business owners across the City—who in turn, are exposing them to opportunities that build character, careers, and a 21st Century workforce,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the Department of Small Business Services.

“Connecting our City’s youth with jobs can put money in their pockets today and equip them with skills, experiences, and connections that will give them a leg up tomorrow. I’m glad that Mayor de Blasio and the Council have stepped up to support summer youth employment in the coming year,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer.

 “Employment is the most constructive way to keep our young men and women active during the summer season, developing practical skills that are useful in adulthood and pursing interests that can eventually become meaningful careers. As SYEP continues to expand, from Brooklyn Borough Hall and beyond, tens of thousands of participants have a unique opportunity to learn about finance, government, health care, technology, and other sectors of our economy. SYEP nurtures the most valuable natural resource we have in New York City: our next generation,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric L. Adams.

“The Summer Youth Employment Program has opened doors of opportunity for thousands of young New Yorkers. We must continue supporting innovative public-private efforts like these, which strengthen our local economies by helping young people succeed in the workforce,” said Congresswoman Nydia M. Velázquez.

“Today, I join in celebration with Mayor Bill de Blasio, City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong, elected officials, employers, and thousands of young people in Brooklyn who are affiliated with this year’s Summer Youth Employment Program. A record 60,000 participants and 10,000 worksites are participating in this year’s program. Through a comprehensive engagement program, the youths in our communities are able to have access to careers that can fundamentally improve the quality of life throughout our communities,” said Congresswoman Yvette Clarke.

“This is about more than giving kids a paycheck, the Summer Youth Employment Program is a smart investment to give young people the skills and confidence that they will need for a successful future. I thank the City, City Council, and Department of Youth and Community Development for their continued support of SYEP,” said State Senator Daniel Squadron.

“Our community youth programs have been hit hard through no fault of their own. The Summer Youth Employment Program is a godsend and is sorely needed,” said Assembly Member Alice Cancel.

“Henry Street Settlement has been a proud partner of SYEP since the program’s inception. The Settlement is grateful to New York City for supporting this essential program for decades. Our mission is to open doors of opportunity for New Yorkers and opening the door to a first job for a young person can be life-changing. We’ve helped tens of thousands of young people over the years take that important first step to gain the skills they need as they move forward with their education, their careers, and their lives,” said David Garza, Executive Director of Henry Street Settlement.

“We are proud and honored to provide motivated, talented students from diverse backgrounds throughout our five boroughs the opportunity to work in a corporate environment and learn valuable professional skills. The success of our internship program is evidenced by the part-time and full-time positions at Amalgamated Bank that several of our former interns have gone on to accept—and we look forward to working with this year’s tremendous group of hard-working and smart young professionals,” said Keith Mestrich, President and CEO of Amalgamated Bank.

“Applying to the Summer Youth Employment Program was the wisest decision I have made. Before SYEP, I didn’t have a clear vision of what I wanted to do with my professional career and now I have a better idea of what career path I should take. I can honestly say I would have not gotten this opportunity if it wasn’t for SYEP. I urge all New York City young people to apply to this wonderful program,” said Rosanny Duran, who has just been offered a full time position with her SYEP employer, Amalgamated Bank.

“For the past 10 years, we have been proud to be involved in NYC’s Summer Youth Employment Program through Ladders for Leaders. We are always invigorated and inspired by the young people who walk through our doors and wholly immerse themselves in our business. They come with ideas and enthusiasm. It is a win for everyone, an investment in the future of our industry, our city and most important, the kids who bring as much to us as we give them,” said David Sable, Chief Executive Officer of Y&R.

“I loved being able to shoot so many fantastic commercials with my team. I loved having clamps and lighting gear in my desk. I loved waking up in the morning knowing that my internship to-do list had post-production notes on it. I will never forget the fun and education I experienced at Young & Rubicam that summer,” said Edwin DeJesus, who interned at Y&R.

“Getting your foot in the door at a young age and being heard is the first step in business. It played an important role in my professional growth, but more importantly as person. That is why I joined forces with DYCD and their program. It is an amazing entry point for New York City youth to get involved in business and discover themselves in ways they have not imagined,” said Daymond John.

“I am very grateful for an opportunity to explore my options, intern, and develop as a professional because no other program provides all those opportunities. I wish and hope for more youth to learn and apply to the Summer Youth Employment Program and Ladders for Leaders because these programs leave a lasting impact and change lives,” said Kseniya Kosmina, who interned with John’s company, Shark Branding.

“Modell’s Sporting Goods feels it’s our responsibility to support the communities we serve, and our partnership with DYCD’s Summer Youth Employment Program is a perfect example of just that. We are excited that we were able to provide summer job opportunities to these wonderful young participants who are eager to learn. For many, this is their first job and this gives them an opportunity to learn how to interact with many different individuals in the workplace, while gaining valuable skills. Early work opportunities provided by a program such as this helps young adults form their career decisions,” said Modell’s Sporting Goods Talent Acquisition Manager/ Regional Human Resources Supervisor Greg Hambric.

“The Summer Youth Employment Program was an important outlet for me as a teenager eager to gain some work experience at a young age. It set a precedent for me that resonates until this day with my chosen career path. SYEP provided me with the type of work experience that prepared me for the bigger job opportunities that were soon to come as a teenager gearing up for the future. It’s an important entry point for anyone interested in developing strong, long term work ethic,” said Riggs Morales, Atlantic Records Vice President of A&R and Artist Development.

For more information on SYEP and Ladders for Leaders, call 311 or Youth Connect at 1-800-246-4646. Also visit for a list of alternative job and internships throughout the City.

Employers looking to support New York City’s youth employment programs should go to the Center for Youth Employment’s website. Interested employers can also email the Mayor’s Fund at for more information.

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