Mayor de Blasio Kicks Off Summer Youth Employment Program with record 70,000 Jobs and Over 11,000 Worksites

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$126.4 million budget creates the highest number of jobs for NYC youth in the program’s 54-year history

NEW YORK— Mayor Bill de Blasio and DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong today announced the start of the 2017 Summer Youth Employment Program with a record 70,000 young New Yorkers employed at more than 11,000 worksites. SYEP, which runs through August 19, is the nation’s largest summer youth employment initiative. The program started in 1963 and provides New York City residents between the ages of 14 and 24 with up to six weeks of entry-level experience at worksites in all five boroughs.

SYEP also provides specialized programming for disabled, foster care, runaway/homeless and court-involved young people. Support includes workshops on job readiness, career exploration and financial literacy, and opportunities to continue education and social growth. Since the beginning of the de Blasio Administration, the number of vulnerable youth enrolled in SYEP increased from 1,000 in 2014 to more than 3,000 in 2017.

“Every kid in New York City should have the opportunity to explore their interests through their first job,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “For more than 50 years, the Summer Youth Employment Program has facilitated the kind of real world training and support necessary to prepare our most vulnerable children for their future careers. And now, we are leveraging the resources of the City, nonprofits and New York’s thriving business community to bring this opportunity to an unprecedented number of kids in all five boroughs.”

“Every year we give more and more young people the chance at an internship that could change the trajectory of their careers. This year, we’ll connect even more youth from across the five boroughs to meaningful opportunities. As a former SYEP participant, I gained invaluable experience that I took with me throughout my public service life,” said DYCD Commissioner Bill Chong. “I could not be more proud of leading an agency that runs a program that has been instilling confidence, a strong work ethic and important skills for hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers for more than a half-century.”

“SYEP has a long and important history in New York City – it provided me and so many of my colleagues in City government with our very first jobs. There’s no better way to deepen this tradition than to make bold new investments that open the doors of opportunity to more young people than ever before, including to the City’s most vulnerable youth,” said Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. “I’m confident that this year’s participants will gain meaningful workplace experience that will build the foundation for lifelong career success.”

“Employers consistently say they want to hire young adults who possess work skills on day one. SYEP gives talented young people the training they need to be great employees and, for many, provides them with an early first job experience that will set them up for success in their future careers,” said Gabrielle Fialkoff, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and Director of the Mayor’s Office of Strategic Partnerships. “In partnership with the Center for Youth Employment, this program utilizes the City’s wealth of private, public and non-profit resources to create enriching opportunities for young New Yorkers. We are proud to do our part to give tomorrow’s leaders the opportunities they deserve.”

“Connecting our city’s youth with jobs puts money in their pockets today and equips them with skills and experiences that will give them a leg up tomorrow,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “Studies show this program improves school attendance and helps our kids stay safer.”

“In a city with so many booming industries and opportunities, summer employment is one of the most valuable experiences we can provide our youth. The fundamental knowledge young people gain at these work sites goes with them through their adulthood and can make a significant difference in their employability, particularly for young men and women of color,” said New York City Council Finance Committee Chairwoman Julissa Ferreras-Copeland. “I am very proud of the Council’s steadfast advocacy for SYEP and thank Mayor de Blasio for his continued support.”

“As chairman of the Youth Services Committee, I am so pleased that the Summer Youth Employment Program is stronger than ever, this summer 70,000 young people will have the opportunity to have a summer job. By working together, we have been able to double the size of this important program, and I am excited for our young people who will have the opportunity to spend their summer working, learning skills for life and earning some money for themselves and their families,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene, Chair of the Committee on Youth Services. “It is a fact that summer jobs keep our city’s youth out of trouble and on a positive path toward becoming productive citizens; young people who are able to work in the summer also earn more over the course of their lives than their peers who are not. That is why it is critical that New York City offer summer jobs to as many young people as possible.”

“Securing a record 70,000 youth summer jobs shows our investment in the future leaders of our City,” said Council Member Margaret S. Chin. “As a former SYEP participant, I know firsthand that summer youth jobs mean much more than a paycheck – they also build self-confidence and instill the importance of giving back to the community. I pledge to continue working with Commissioner Chong and my Council colleagues to support this vital program to equip our youth with the resources and opportunities they need to succeed.”

“The Summer Youth Employment Program is an important resource for our City’s youth. With this historic increase to 70,000 jobs, the most the current structure could hold, more young people will have the opportunity to take part in constructive work this summer,” said Council Member Jumaane D. Williams. “All of the research shows that employing young people means stronger families, crime reductions, and literally, young people remaining alive. I congratulate the City Council for prioritizing youth jobs and I thank the Mayor for his commitment to include additional funding to expand the program.”

In addition to young people who get jobs as part of SYEP, hundreds of young adults will be employed through Ladders for Leaders, a nationally recognized employer-paid internship component of SYEP for youth aged 16-22. Ladders for Leaders connects high achieving high school and college students with paid, professional summer internships within leading large and small businesses, nonprofits and government agencies citywide. This summer, with the support of the Center for Youth Employment, the City placed over 1,700 students in Ladders for Leaders internships and served 3,050 young people who have been involved in the shelter, justice or foster care systems.

SYEP participants are connected to diverse opportunities at worksites that include government agencies, hospitals, summer camps, nonprofits, small businesses, law firms, museums, sports enterprises and retail:

  • Tech: AOL, AppNexus ,Techie Youth
  • Fashion: Coach, Macy’s, Ralph Lauren
  • Cultural Institutions: American Museum of Natural History, New Museum, Museum of the Moving Image, The MET
  • Media: Emmis Communications, Discovery Communications, Entertainment Partners
  • Retail: Modell’s, CVS, Walgreens
  • Health Care: Maimonides Hospital, Greater New York Hospital Association, Mount Sinai Health System
  • Real Estate: Rapid Realty , Tishman Speyer, HFZ Capital Group
  • Finance: Amalgamated Bank, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase, KPMG
  • Communications: Y&R, Interactive Advertising Bureau, Rubenstein PR
  • Law: The Legal Aid Society, Hughes Hubbard & Reed, United States Attorney’s Office, Eastern District of New York
  • Nonprofits: The New York City Urban Debate League, Coalition For Hispanic Family Services, Digital Girls, Inc.
  • Government Agencies: NYC Police Department, NYC Department of Environmental Protection, NYC Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene


As part of a national effort to encourage young people to save and make healthy financial choices, SYEP participants have the option to receive their wages via direct deposit to a bank account of their choice. Youth who signed up for direct deposit and/or opened savings accounts are eligible to receive hundreds of rewards deposited to their accounts ranging from $25-$500. This summer, more than 24,500 young people signed up for direct deposit accounts, a 400 percent increase since 2014. The multi-year initiative is funded by the Cities for Financial Empowerment and the Citi Foundation.

In 2015, Mayor de Blasio, First Lady Chirlane McCray and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance New York City launched the NYC Center for Youth Employment, a public-private initiative charged with helping to expand the City’s employment services for young New Yorkers, including SYEP. The Center for Youth Employment’s specific goal is to support 100,000 unique, work-related experiences each year, including high-quality summer jobs, career exposure, skills-building, and supportive mentorships, by 2020. In collaboration with City agencies, employers and other stakeholders, the Center for Youth Employment is focused on increasing private sector involvement in these programs as well as evaluating the City’s youth workforce system as a whole, with an eye toward expanding effective programs and filling in gaps.

“We applaud the work of DYCD, for continuing to manage the largest youth summer jobs program in the nation. And thank you to the providers, employer partners, the City Council and private funders for supporting this invaluable effort to build skills and real-world experiences for our City’s young people. The Mayor’s Fund is thrilled to continue our support of SYEP through investments in the Ladders for Leaders program, and expanding Vulnerable Youth opportunities, and we are grateful to the many partners who have helped New York City in serving record numbers of youth this summer,” said Darren Bloch, Executive Director, The Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC.

“Simply put, our mission at the Center for Youth Employment is to help deliver more and better work experiences for young New Yorkers. With SYEP serving a record number of participants this year, and piloting thoughtful new program models that can grow in years to come, the program is doing more than ever to support our City’s youth toward brighter futures,” said David Fischer, Executive Director of the NYC Center for Youth Employment.

DYCD also funds employment programs through In-School Youth; Out-of-School Youth; Opportunity Youth: Supported Work Experience; and the Young Adult Internship Program. More information can be found on the DYCD website. Work, Learn & Grow, a New York City Council-funded initiative, provides participants in SYEP and ISY who are between the ages of 14 and 24 and currently in school with career-readiness training and paid employment opportunities for up to 25 weeks from October through April.

For more information on SYEP and Ladders for Leaders, call 311 or Youth Connect at 1-800-246-4646. Also visit for a list of alternative job and internships throughout the City. Employers looking to support New York City’s youth employment programs should go to the Center for Youth Employment’s website ( employers can also email the Mayor’s Fund at for details.  |  (212) 788-2958

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