Research shows that early and meaningful exposure to career paths significantly increases the likelihood of a young person graduating from high school, improves future employment opportunities, and increases earning potential. Summer jobs in particular have been shown to have a powerful positive impact on young adults, helping to decrease rates of incarceration, increase high school attendance, and increase interest in college enrollment.
Currently, New York City has a number of programs in place to connect young people to employment opportunities – and their corresponding benefits. But City agencies and external partners primarily work independently of each other within existing programs, and they have historically lacked capacity to serve young New Yorkers. The City's annual Summer Youth Employment Program, the largest summer jobs initiative in the country, placed 47,000 young people in summer jobs in 2014 but was unable to serve nearly 90,000 additional applicants. Similarly, mentorship, skills building and internship opportunities for public school students supported by both public and private programs cover only a fraction of the city's young adults who could benefit from career support and encouragement.
Mayor de Blasio has made it a priority of his administration to improve current youth employment programs and expand access to these vital opportunities to more New York City students, directing the Mayor's Fund and other City agencies to assist in achieving that goal.
In May 2014, Mayor de Blasio and First Lady and Mayor's Fund Chair Chirlane McCray launched the NYC Center for Youth Employment as a public-private partnership dedicated to facilitating the coordination between city agencies and the private sector necessary to improve youth workforce opportunities.
First, the Center for Youth Employment aims to make the involvement of private sector in existing youth employment programs more efficient, and to offer increased support for employers interested in hiring young people through these programs. Second, the Center will track and measure for the first time the return on the more than $100 million invested by the City each year in youth employment programs, to ensure resources are focused on best-in-class programs with the potential to scale.
Mayor Bill de Blasio has also called on the New York City business community to help raise the bar for our youth workforce. The Center will be relying on the City’s corporate and philanthropic communities to not advise on how to maximize youth workforce efforts, but also to invest in programs that will generate the best outcomes for city youth – and in turn, the businesses that will one day hire them.