What is SYEP?
SYEP began in New York City in 1984 as a way to provide young people with engaging and substantive work experience over the summer while providing supplemental income to families. The program grew with the passage of the Workforce Investment Act in 1998 and in 2003, the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development became the primary administrator of SYEP in New York City. Today, SYEP provides summer work opportunities more than 30,000 young people between the ages of 14 and 24 in a variety of industries.
According to a survey done by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD), more than 75% of SYEP participants say they would have not have found a summer job without SYEP and 98% said they benefited from SYEP. In 2013, more than 30% of youth were placed with child care and day camp facilities while the remaining worked with various government agencies, educational and social service providers, hospitals and local businesses.
Young people who participate in SYEP are selected by lottery and typically work between 20 and 25 hours per week in entry level roles around the city. They are paid $8.75 per hour and are expected to attend a variety of professional development workshops. The 6-7 week program runs between July and August and is coordinated by community-based organizations, which place young people in worksites and connect them to resources designed to help prepare them for the workforce. The program offers all participants access to financial literacy programs created by banks and credit unions to help youth make smart choice about their earnings. It also helps enroll and provide services to about 1,000 vulnerable youth – youth who are in foster care, are homeless or are court involved.