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New York City
August 2002

Summertime Blues: Nearly 15,000 Fewer Summer Jobs for Teens

Despite an increase of $8 million in city funds for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), 14,848 fewer New York City teens were able to secure jobs compared to last summer. The program, which provides jobs and wages for tens of thousands of low-income youth each summer, has experienced considerable funding uncertainty since July 2000 when the federal Workforce Investment Act (WIA) went into effect and eliminated funds dedicated specifically to summer jobs for youth. Now, opportunities to stabilize the program are emerging Ė pending legislation in Albany would create a state-sponsored summer jobs program, and WIA is up for reauthorization by Congress in 2003.

Roughly 35,000 teens started work this month under the program, which is administered by the cityís Department of Employment (DOE). The department budgeted $44 million for this summerís program, including $11 million in federal WIA dollars, $15 million in state Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF) dollars, and $18 million in city tax-levy dollars. Funding for last summerís program totaled $60 million.

The youth are placed in jobs at day camps, senior centers, hospitals, and other community service centers, as well as at some city agencies. Each youth employment slot is budgeted at $1,257 this year. Participants are expected to work six hours per day, four days per week for seven weeks, and they are paid the minimum wage ($5.15 per hour). The youth earn about $865 each for the summer.

Legislation has been introduced in Albany to establish a permanent and stand-alone New York State summer youth employment program.#

Independent Budget Office (IBO).

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Education Update, Inc., P.O. Box 20005, New York, NY 10001.
Tel: (212) 481-5519. Fax: (212) 481-3919.Email: ednews1@aol.com.
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