In a cost cutting move that will save the city $124 million, Mayor de Blasio and his administration dropped the hammer yesterday when it cut 75,000 summer jobs for kids.
The government’s is not sure how long COVID-19 will last and since there still is no cure, they deemed it unsafe to have these jobs start in a couple of months. There is uncertainty over how COVID-19 will continue to affect social distancing guidelines, worksite availability and provider and site staffing.
Since 1963, the Department of Youth and Community Development has sponsored the nation’s largest youth employment program, Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) for people ages 14 to 24 with career exploration opportunities and paid work experience.
Councilman Andy King and Councilwoman Deborah Rose, who chairs the youth committee, are not pleased and sent a letter to the city yesterday expressing their anger.
“Suspension of this program is devastating news to our youths, who often rely on a paycheck to help their family,” they said in the letter. “We still need to find a way to keep our young adults engaged and safe, while still offering them some kind of financial assistance throughout the summer.”
With the recent stimulus package set to provide help for small businesses, the electeds are calling for a “Summer Youth Stimulus Package” to be amended to the budget. The hope is those who had already applied for the summer program will be aided financially, they said.
The pols proposed that the kids receive a one-time payment equal to one-fourth of what they would have earned from working in the Summer Youth Employment Program.
“Keep in mind, not only will these young people miss out on the financial assistance of SYEP, but they will also lose educational and real workplace experience,” the letter stated. “As youth developers for the past decades, this is very damaging to the growth of our youth. Many of our youths are already feeling the financial strain as their parents or guardians may be unemployed, and so eliminating the SYEP is adding more distress to families. The financial relief package would be a way to assist youth and their families to be economically viable during the summer months.”
Community Board 7 District Manager Ischia Bravo, who is also running for city council in the 15th Ditrict, was shocked by the cuts. She made her frustrations known on Twitter.
“I guess those making decisions don’t know how it is to depend on programs like these to eat,” Bravo said. “Well I do! City agencies & other groups have managed to work remotely. I’m sure this method can be applied for #SYEP. Families will need this income!”