The Campaign for Summer Jobs

The Campaign for Summer Jobs (CSJ) is a coalition of nearly 100 community-based and citywide organizations in New York City that advocate for State and City investment and effective programmatic models for the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).  SYEP is a six-week opportunity for 14-24 year olds to work 20-25 hours/week at the State’s minimum wage.  We urge New York State and New York City  to increase their investments in SYEP in order to increase access to summer work opportunities for young people, providing  positive work experiences, financial support and education to the City’s youth & young adults.

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The Summer Youth Employment Program builds the workforce of tomorrow, reduces unemployment of young people, and empowers youth to contribute to their communities.

 Quick Facts about SYEP

  • SYEP has been a gateway to future employment for hundreds of thousands of New York youth over the past several decades, providing critical work skills.
  • In 2011, youth aged 16-21 had the highest unemployment rate of all age groups in NYC, and in 2012, young adults aged 18-24 had an unemployment rate of 17%- nearly double that of those over the age of 25.
  • Between 2008 and 2012 applications increased by 32% from 103,000 to 136,000 while job slots fell from 43,000 to just 36,000. At the same time, City investment declined by $10m.
  • In recent years youth have had roughly a 25% chance of being selected for participation; many youth are turned away two, three, or more years in a row.
  • A recent NYU study found that youth considered at “educational risk” showed increased attendance and higher rates of taking and passing Regents exams after SYEP participation.

 State Minimum Wage & Federal Investment

  • While we support the minimum wage increase, SYEP job slots decrease as the minimum wage rises, unless funders increase investment in the program accordingly. In addition, federal funding is expected to drop by over 50% this summer.
  • We appreciate the Mayor’s inclusion of an additional $8.5m in the Executive Budget which will offset the minimum wage increase, but the administration should go further and help grow the program. We support the City Council’s recommendation of an additional $14.2m to create an additional 10,000 jobs this year for a total of 46,000. 

SYEP Expansion Plan

  • CSJ envisions a five year expansion that eventually serves 100,000 youth per summer and will work with Albany and NYC leaders to achieve this goal.