Community Board 10 wants its local teenagers – and those around the city – to have jobs next summer.
The board recently took a stand against what seems to have become perennial cuts to the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program.
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CB10 chairman John Marano wrote to Department of Youth and Community Development commissioner Jeanne Mulgrav on Thursday, Oct. 31, telling her the board will act as an advocate on its behalf to increase funding for the program, which enables businesses and organizations to hire youth of modest-means.
It’s successful history warrants it, Marano stated in the the letter.
“For many years, your agency has successfully operated the SYEP, providing our young people with rewarding employment experiences that have enabled them to move forward and develop into fine adults,” the CB10 letter stated. “In the process of developing employment opportunities, your agency has forged excellent liaisons with the City’s businesses and non-profit communities. The agency’s stewardship of the SYEP has been characterized by an adherence to honesty, efficiency and a commitment to the common good.”
The program services some of the local boards’ most needy youngsters, but parental income requirements preclude a lot of board service area youngsters from taking part, said CB 10 district manager Kenneth Kearns.
Citywide, according to the CB 10 letter letter, in Fiscal Year 2010 the program was funded at $14 million, with 52,225 jobs developed. But last summer, just 29,416 jobs citywide were developed with a budget of about $10 million.
Unemployment for young people is very high, and having a summer job can help youth learn a sense of discipline and perhaps keep some out of trouble, said Marano. It also benefits the businesses and parts of city government that employ the young people.
“For small companies and small agencies who don’t have a lot of money to spend up on full-time employees, it is a very good program because it frees us up,” he said.
Bob Bieder, CB 10’s Youth Services chairman, said that when Mayor Bloomberg entered office, he commissioned a study showing that one dollar spent on youth programming can save as much as seven dollars that would otherwise have to go to services such as criminal justice. Those findings seem not to be being adhered to, he said. Bieder believes that he may know the reason – “The young people can’t vote.”
But in a response to the board’s letter, DYCD pegged the number of youth in last summer program as closer 36,000 “at 6,833 worksites supported by 50 provider organizations throughout all five boroughs.”
It stated that while the administration’s commitment to funding the program has never changed, its federal funding has declined dramatically. The program is funded with federal, state, and city money, along with private donations.
“Mayor Bloomberg’s commitment to SYEP has been unwavering, with City funding baselined in the budget, and private fundraising strong for the fourth year in a row,” the DYDC letter stated. “Unfortunately, since 2000, Federal funding has declined, requiring a stronger City and State commitment to the program. SYEP has provided over 425,000 summer jobs since 2003.”