The Impact of SYEP
SYEP helps make our communities safer by providing youth with safe and productive opportunities during the summer. A study conducted in Boston showed that youth from low income neighborhoods who were engaged in a program similar to SYEP were less likely to be involved in violent crime or dangerous behavior than their peers. The study showed that youth who participated in the city’s summer employment program, when compared to their peers, were more likely to find work once the program was over and were less likely to use drugs and alcohol, exhibit signs of social isolation, or be involved in violent confrontations.
You can find the results of the study here.
Other cities with similar programs have also shown decreases in youth violence thanks to summer youth employment. In Chicago, a study showed programs similar to SYEP led to a 51% drop in arrest rates among at risk youth, many of who had already had several encounters with law enforcement. You can find those results here.
Another recent report in 2014 from the National Bureau of Economic Research, the University of Pennsylvania Wharton School of Business and the University of California Berkley Goldman School of Public Policy on the effects of youth employment from New York City SYEP lotteries found that youth who participate in SYEP have decreased probabilities of incarceration as well as decreased probabilities of mortality. Their data estimates actually suggest that by October 2014, around 86 lives were saved by the four years of the SYEP program from 2005-2008. You can find the results of the study here.
In New York City, SYEP has the potential to produce similar results by providing at risk youth with a chance for meaningful and engaging employment. Already, SYEP offers resources and employment to 1,000 vulnerable and at-risk youth. Summer youth employment has also been a central part of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s initiative to improve public safety in and around New York City Housing Authority facilities. An expansion of SYEP will not only provide many more at-risk youth with valuable work experience, it will also help build safer communities.