Education ∙ Jobs ∙ Racial Equity
Early College & Career Readiness
Early college and higher education have been leading factors in social mobility. After losing hundreds of thousands of jobs, New York City must prioritize career readiness for its youth and build the next generation of New York’s workforce. Andrew Yang is committed to expanding opportunities for employment and college for all New Yorkers.
Fully fund Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) and expand to 175,000 youth over 4 years.
New York City’s SYEP program is the largest youth employment program in the country, serving 75,000 New Yorkers, aged 14-24. For nearly 60 years, participants have been chosen through a lottery to work at a range of experiences including summer camps, local businesses and social service agencies. SYEP is a great introduction for young people into the workplace, as well as a valuable source of supplemental income — 85% of participants live in households earning $31,000 or less. The program is an opportunity for youth to engage in their communities, find mentors, learn marketable skills and build professional experience during summer months. And, SYEP creates a natural moment for participants to start building financial literacy as well, with many receiving their first paychecks.
In recent years, the program has scaled substantially, more than doubling from 36,000 participants in 2014. Last summer, however, much to the chagrin of New York families, teens, providers and elected officials, the program was cut as a pandemic budget measure and then reinstated in modified, virtual form with a 50% reduction in available slots. This was a hard, last-minute hit to communities already reeling from COVID-19, and especially at a time when young people were facing grave economic uncertainty. After a year of social isolation and financial hardship, summer jobs for youth are a lifeline.
Andrew Yang will commit to Expanded SYEP, which will eliminate the lottery while adding 25,000 slots per year to reach 175,000 youth served by the fourth year of a Yang administration; more than the total number of applicants in recent years. The plan also includes: ensuring providers have support and predictability; the city takes a year-round approach; quality experiences for students of all backgrounds and interests; and accountability through measuring success. Read more about Andrew Yang’s Expanded SYEP and Year-Round Employment plan for NYC Youth.
Making our schools the center of our economic comeback strategy by leveraging the private sector to the benefit of NYC’s public school students.
Andrew Yang will convene a Youth Summit with the DOE, CUNY, student leaders and the 500 largest NYC employers to design a next-generation education strategy for our economy, providing career mentors, internships and job experiences for every high school student, and credit-earning paid internships for college students that are all linked to the jobs of the future. Our young people will fuel a new, more powerful NYC economy that brings prosperity to every neighborhood. We need to redefine what success in schools means and looks like. Whether it be college readiness or preparation to enter the workforce, a focus in the arts or STEM, schools should nurture these various aspirations. All are acceptable outcomes of K-12 education.
Take an individual approach to all students.
Currently, an Individualized Education Plan is used to support students with disabilities, but there is no reason this concept cannot be applied more broadly to meet the needs of all of our students. Andrew Yang will invest in moving away from the traditional one-class fits all structure. Instead, each student entering high school will have the opportunity to work with teachers, parents, guidance counselors, college advisors, private sector, nonprofit and philanthropic groups and more to identify their interests and guide their education both in and outside the classroom. These individualized plans will work in conjunction with Andrew’s vision to engage CUNY and the private sector in offering opportunities for summer jobs, internships and credit-bearing activity so that what happens inside and out of the classroom are part of a comprehensive, reinforcing education.
Andrew Yang commits to ensure that every student will leave high school prepared to thrive.
Under a Yang administration, our schools will prepare all of our students to graduate high schools with the option to attend a selective college or get a good-paying job leading to a rewarding career. All students need to be caught up and on track to meet their goals for college and career by 2026; we'll do that through tutoring, re-training a more diverse teacher and principal workforce on effective methods to catch kids up, social and mental health supports, and grants to low-income parents to use for enrichment or other student needs, including support for students with special needs.
Expand opportunities for early college.
Early college schools enable students to earn up to two years of college credit while in high school. The introduction of early college programs into the NYC school system has yielded great successes. Starting college early increases the likelihood of high school graduation, attending college and eventually graduating from college. Students at early college schools are twice as likely to get a BA four years after high school, and eight times more likely to get an associates degree 2 years post high school. These schools are designed to support students who are historically underrepresented in higher education, including low-income youth, first-generation college-goers and English language learners. These students often have less access to college experiences and are the most in need of that exposure, particularly at no extra cost. According to CUNY: “By making campus life and college-level work a part of every student’s high school experience, early college high schools eliminate financial, academic, and psychological hurdles that prevent too many students from entering and succeeding in college.”
Andrew Yang will work closely with CUNY and other programs such as Bard Early College to expand programs and offerings in NYC. He will create a funding stream, dedicated to opening these new programs, expanding current offerings such as College Now and investing in increased awareness and benefits of these programs for our middle school and high school students.
Invest in the arts through educating our youth.
A Yang administration will partner with the arts community and the not-for-profit sector to continue vital arts education programs, such as the Hamilton Education Program organized by the Gilder Lehrman Institute and the producers of Hamilton to bring programming in American history to students in Title I schools and reduced ticket prices to see the performance. Among the many resources our public school students were deprived of throughout the pandemic, arts education was among the greatest losses. In the last school year, the Department of Education’s arts budget was $21.5 million and the DOE partnered with cultural organizations to bring 4,500 artists into classrooms across the city. But because of the pandemic, the city was forced to cut the DOE arts budget by 70 percent and students got almost no arts education during remote learning. Yet, long before COVID-19 our students, particularly those in low-income communities received inadequate arts education. A Yang administration will restore the funding that was cut in the budget for arts education and expand partnerships with the arts community and philanthropic organizations to bring more opportunities to our students. Arts education in schools will contribute to a holistic and well-rounded education for our students, supporting their mental and emotional health, and inspiring them to enter both creative and non-creative jobs. Andrew Yang worries deeply about artificial intelligence and automation displacing American jobs, but by giving students a glimpse into thoroughly human jobs that emphasize passion, thinking, empathy and inspiration, we will be contributing to a job force that cannot be automated away.
Fulfill commitments to Computer Science for All
In 2015, through an $81 million public-private partnership, the de Blasio administration established Computer Science for All (C4SAll) with the goal of reaching every school by 2025. According to a 2021 report by the DOE, the city is making progress on this goal with 2,025 teachers trained across over 825 schools and 117,000 students receiving CS4All in 2019-2020, up from 164,000 the previous year. A Yang administration will continue this program with a focus on diversity for groups that are traditionally underrepresented in CS and will also expand partnerships such as NYC First, which runs immersive, hands-on STEM education and robotics programs. The program’s STEM Centers are the library of the 21st century and Andrew Yang will work in partnership with groups like this, local universities, colleges and communities, to increase access to these life-altering skills that will put our students on par with other global cities when it comes to college readiness and job opportunities.