May 18, 2011
By Stephanie West
A public private partnership to help fund summer jobs for thousands of young New York City residents has been set up by the city. The partnership will support the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), which for nearly fifty years has helped generations of New Yorkers secure their first paid employment. SYEP gives City youth between the ages of 14 and 24 summer employment and educational opportunities in the public, private and non-profit sector. The City of New York, in partnership with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City, has launched this fund raising campaign to continue offering opportunities despite cuts in federal and state funding. The Mayor’s Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting public private partnerships throughout the five boroughs. The cost of employing a youth for seven weeks in SYEP is $1,500 an investment that research suggests yields a return many times larger.
“Public funding has never met the overwhelming demand for our City’s Summer Youth Employment Program,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “This partnership with the private sector is an opportunity for business leaders, foundations and individuals to make a real difference in the lives of young people who are looking for employment experience this summer. I am grateful to these partners and hope they inspire many others this summer and for years to come, ensuring the success of this meaningful program.”
The Mayor’s Fund will provide initial lead support for SYEP Partners from Goldman Sachs Gives, David Rockefeller, JP Morgan Chase, the West Harlem Local Development Corporation, Dan and Sheryl Tishman, Bloomingdale’s, CVS, the ABNY Foundation and Kingdon Capital Management LLC. Additional supporters include American Airlines, Empire State Building, First Republic, Hudson Square Connection, InterContinental, Linden Alschuler & Kaplan, Madison Square Garden, MAXIMUS, Prismatic Development, Tishman Speyer, Verizon, Bloomberg Philanthropies and individual donors. Approximately $3 million has been raised to date, $1 million more than was raised in 2010, and the Mayor’s Fund continues to seek additional private partners prior to the program start on July 5.
SYEP has provided summer jobs to hundreds of thousands of New York City residents since its launch in the early 1960s. Participants are placed at camps, parks, government agencies, local non-profits, hospitals, senior centers, daycare centers and small businesses throughout the city, earning minimum wage. SYEP also provides career exploration, post-secondary education information and life skills training, including health education and financial literacy.
Research shows that early work experience is of great benefit to young people for both the short and long term. Students who work during high school tend to stay in school graduate at higher rates. In addition, early work experience is linked to higher rates of employment and higher earnings: for every year that teens work, their income in their twenties rises by an average of 14 percent to 16 percent. In addition to its positive impact on youth participants, SYEP has other significant effects: about forty percent of SYEP participants work in summer camps and daycare centers, vastly expanding the capacity of these programs to serve New York City’s working families. The wages earned by SYEP participants also stimulate the local economy. Last summer, participants earned $36 million in wages, much of which they recirculated through their neighborhoods through purchases at local businesses.