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April 20th, 2021
Assemblyman Kenny Burgos Endorses Andrew Yang for Mayor; Pair Release Plan to Guarantee 175,000 Summer Jobs for New York City Youth
**RELEASE** April 20th, 2021
New York, NY —Today, Bronx Assembly Member Kenny Burgos endorsed Andrew Yang for mayor of New York City.
Together, the pair announced a new plan to expand the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) to reach an ambitious goal of 175,000 summer jobs for New York City students by the end of Yang’s first term as mayor, and grow New York City’s Work, Learn, Grow program to serve 25,000 young people every year. They were joined by local students who have participated in the program and Stephanie Ramirez from HERE to HERE, a nonprofit summer youth service provider.
Said Assembly Member Kenny Burgos, “Andrew’s unbounded vision for New York is compelling because it’s rooted in economic and social justice for everyday New Yorkers. I am incredibly proud to endorse him for mayor and announce our plan to provide invaluable, essential work experience to Black and Brown kids across the City through fully funding and expanding SYEP. I can’t wait to work with Mayor Andrew Yang to make this ambitious vision for a better City a reality. We need a clean break from the old, dysfunctional bureaucratic systems of the past, and that’s what Andrew embodies: positivity and hope for those who need it most after such a difficult year.”
Since its creation in 1963, the Student Youth Employment Program (SYEP) has been a cornerstone of New York City’s youth services initiatives and is currently the nation’s largest youth employment program. Each summer, SYEP connects New Yorkers between 14 and 24 with opportunities to explore career pathways, develop workplace skills and engage in project-based learning experiences, all while earning an income, making it an invaluable resource for youth across the City.
In the immediate years before COVID-19, SYEP provided high quality work experiences to 75,000 New York City youth, ages 14-24, each summer. From 2014 to 2019, SYEP grew from 36,000 participants to 75,000, which meant that there was space for about half of the more than 150,000 applicants, with a lottery for the available spots.
Yet in the summer of 2020, the program was cut as a pandemic budget measure and then reinstated in modified, virtual form with a 50% reduction in available slots, a last-minute hit to communities that had already been devastated by the pandemic.
Andrew Yang and Assembly Member Burgos’s plan would not only restore SYEP to its previous scale, but go further by continuing to grow the program, and at a faster pace than the city did in the 5 years before COVID.
In addition, the New York City Council has single handedly funded Work, Learn, Grow, a year round employment program providing 5,000 jobs to New York City youth. Although the Council has called on the current Administration to baseline funding for years and build a comprehensive youth employment program, no progress has been made. Andrew Yang will quintuple the size of WLG to reach 25,000 young people per year.
Andrew Yang's Summer Youth Employment and Work, Learn, Grow, Plan
Where participation was previously growing by about 8,000 per year, a Yang administration would triple that growth rate to 25,000 per year. With this investment, SYEP would have 175,000 participants per summer by the end of a four-year term, meaning there would be enough room to accommodate the previous peak in applicants and eliminate the lottery altogether.
In addition, Andrew Yang’s plan would:
- Offer predictability and support to program providers. A Yang Administration will ensure that the many service providers who make SYEP possible will know how much funding they will be receiving year-over-year and how many slots they can plan for, well before program execution.
- Create a year-round approach to SYEP. Andrew will instruct DCYD and the DOE to engage providers on a year-long basis, inserting predictability and collaboration in the process to ensure the opportunities are maximized for providers, employers, and students. Yang will also instruct the DOE to engage students on a continuum to facilitate support for students throughout the school year.
- Grow Work, Learn, Grow to 25,000 slots. A Yang administration will also ensure that these jobs continue through the year, quintupling the size of Work, Learn, Grow to serve 25,000 youth year-round.
- Provide quality experiences for students of all backgrounds and interests. New York City has diverse students and a diverse employer base. A Yang administration will conduct outreach to all students, no matter their life or academic circumstances. We will also do proactive outreach to bring more tech employers into partnership and help interested youth develop the skills of the future.
- Create metrics to measure the success of the program. While SYEP has shown to be effective in its primary objective of increasing youth employment and income, they have not yet been connected to better long-term employment outcomes. A Yang administration would instruct DCYC to collect more granular data, analytics and qualitative information to identify particular experiences that are setting up participants for longer-term success and create best practices that can be scaled across all SYEP employers.