Chalkbeat New York: NYC’s summer work program for youth called a success, with 100K jobs filled

Chalkbeat New York: NYC’s summer work program for youth called a success, with 100K jobs filled | August 2022: When Ariful Anup was looking for a job last summer, he applied for the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program.

Like more than half of last summer’s applicants, the 17-year-old didn’t get picked. But this summer, after city officials dramatically expanded the program, his luck changed.

New York City already had the nation’s largest youth jobs initiative. This summer, the Adams administration increased the number of youth who get paid to work or learn to 100,000, from nearly 75,000 last year, framing it as a way to curb violence. The program pairs youth ages 14-24 with paid jobs or youth-based learning opportunities.

Ariful’s job filing paperwork for Queens Community House — a nonprofit contracted to pair youth with summer jobs that also takes on some kids of its own — wasn’t very challenging, but he learned to use Excel and was able to start saving up for a car, he said. He didn’t want to leave his friendly co-workers. 

“I’m very interested in this job, but unfortunately it’s just a summer program,” said Ariful, who graduated from Newtown High School in the spring.

In the three years before this summer, 156,500 youth on average applied for a spot, but less than half of applicants, on average, got a job, according to annual city reports. (That excludes 2020 when the program was slashed because of the pandemic.) 

This year, 167,000 youth applied, and about 60% of applicants were paired with a job. 

Ahead of this year’s expansion, providers wondered how difficult the rollout would be. But as the program closes out, officials and providers alike describe the expansion as largely successful. 

Providers have pointed to a few issues that should be improved going forward — such as having enough talented staff on hand —especially if the city is planning to grow the program any larger down the road. 

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