Aug. 14, 2019

Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams will introduce legislation today to create a new Youth Employment Education Program for all school-age New York City residents. The new program would be a parallel, expanded program to the Summer Youth Employment Program, and would be open to all youth, regardless of immigration status.

To announce the legislation, Public Advocate Williams rallied this morning on the steps of City Hall with a broad coalition of advocacy organizations and elected officials ahead of the bill's introduction. Dozens of young people joined the effort to amplify the need for all of New York City's youth to have the opportunity to gain experience and education in work-related skills. Organizations present included the Brooklyn Neighborhood Improvement Association,  Chinese-American Planning Council, the Campaign for Summer Jobs, Coalition for Asian American Children + Families, Big Brothers Big Sisters of NYC, Safe Horizon, Make the Road NY , the YMCA of Greater NY  and more.

"Youth employment education is vital for young people in our city," said Public Advocate Williams . "The legislation being introduced today helps build on the success  of the Summer Youth Employment Program so that all students in New York City, regardless of immigration status, have access to a job. It's about more than a paycheck. It's about learning vital skills and providing our youth with a positive path.  While Donald Trump and his administration are seeking to limit opportunity for immigrant communities - such as with his public charge rule - we in the city can step up and expand them."

The Youth Employment Education Program, as proposed in the legislation,  would be open to all youth of 14-22 years old, regardless of immigration/work authorization status. Besides legal status, other program differences include age range served, employment opportunities, and remuneration. The proposed program's age limit is 22 years old as per New York City's Department of Education requirements. Employment opportunities are focused on government offices and a grant of $1,500 or more will be provided to Youth Employment Education Program participants.

Council Member Debi Rose, a co-sponsor of the legislation, said, "Our city's Summer Youth Employment Program provides invaluable academic, employment and civic experience to tens of thousands of young New Yorkers - while revising employers opportunities to give back and learn from our young people - and I believe all young people deserve the chance to access those opportunities. We should not perpetuate a two-tiered system among our youth, and this bill would ensure that all young people could apply for this program. The Public Advocate has been a successful advocate for expanding the Summer Youth Employment Program over that last decade, and I am proud to join in him supporting universal access.

Council Member Margaret S. Chin, a co-sponsor of the legislation, said, "By providing our kids with invaluable hands-on job training, the Summer Youth Employment Education Program represents one of the City's best investments in the future of New York. The opportunities the Summer Youth Employment Education Program provides should never be denied to any child regardless of their immigrant status. I am proud to co-sponsor this bill alongside my colleague Council Member Rose, and I thank Public Advocate Williams for pushing for an expansion of this vital program."

Gregory Brender, Director of Children and Youth Services at United Neighborhood Houses, said,  "A first work experience is a powerful lesson in independence and maturity; we all remember the pride that comes with spending hard-earned cash and the discipline required to take on new responsibilities and manage relationships with co-workers. United Neighborhood Houses and the Campaign for Summer Jobs are proud to stand with Public Advocate Williams and call for work experiences to be the meaningful and accessible pathways we know they can be for all New York City youth."

Julie Shapiro, Executive Director of The Door, said,  "We at The Door applaud the Public Advocate for introducing this bill. The undocumented youth with whom we work are increasingly targeted and discriminated against by our federal government, individuals, and society at large. Including them in this program is an important step towards showing them how much they matter to our city. Decades of research have shown that summer jobs programs have a positive impact for young people and society alike. It is about time that undocumented youth unleash their full potential by being able to access the city's SYEP."

Ariel Zwang, CEO of Safe Horizon, said,  "We are proud to support Public Advocate Jumaane Williams and his efforts to make the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) all-inclusive. As one of the leading providers of services for homeless youth, we know access to employment and career exploration opportunities is imperative. This is an important step in offering youth career pathways and workplace skills."

Wayne Ho, President & CEO of the Chinese-American Planning Council, said,  "As an organization that serves Asian Americans and immigrants of all backgrounds and status, CPC is thrilled to support this bill that would make SYEP accessible to all young people in New York City. CPC is one of the largest SYEP providers in New York City and knows firsthand how SYEP is critical to the development of young people. This bill is a huge step forward towards building a true sanctuary city."

Alicia Guevara, CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City, said,  "Young people benefit greatly when they have access to career development opportunities that prepare them to succeed in today's global knowledge economy. SYEP creates impactful workplace opportunities for career exploration and readiness that advance Big Brothers Big Sisters of New York City's commitment to igniting the potential and biggest possible futures for all NYC youth."

Shijuade Kadree, Chief Advocacy Officer at The LGBT Community Center, said,  "Through The Center's robust Youth Program, we witness how employment and career development opportunities positively impact young people-particularly those who are part of historically marginalized groups. By giving more young people a path to employment and financial autonomy, we will begin to demolish barriers to equality that too many New Yorkers currently face."

Vanessa Leung, Co-Executive Director of the Coalition for Asian American Children + Families, said, "CACF, the nation's only pan-Asian children's policy advocacy organization, applauds our Public Advocate Jumaane Williams for pushing to expand NYC's Summer Youth Employment Program to include all youth age 14 to 22 years old to apply, regardless of their citizenship status. Asian Pacific American students make up more than 15% of the student population. Many come from low-income households. This change opens the opportunity to young people across the City to be able to benefit from SYEP which is a critical resource for our young people seeking employment. More importantly, SYEP provides young people an opportunity to gain and develop the competencies they need to be successful in their future jobs as well as explore their career options. This is especially helpful for youth from immigrant households who can benefit from the the exposure to jobs and increase their understanding of their employment options. We look forward to advocating on the expansion of SYEP to increase access for youth across the City."

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