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Mayor de Blasio Launches The Disconnected Youth Taskforce

February 4, 2019

NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today announced the members of the Disconnected Youth Task Force following their first meeting, hosted on Friday by Deputy Mayor Phil Thompson. This task force will explore obstacles facing young people between the ages of 16-24, who are out of work and out of school. The Task Force is an interagency effort that will work to examine what obstacles prevent disconnected youth from enrolling in school or being employed, the education and skills employers require, and the policies and programs that affect disconnected youth.

“It is critical that we provide young people the tools they need to thrive in our city,” said Mayor de Blasio. “This taskforce will build our work already underway in this area and will help better identify and meet these needs. I look forward to seeing what recommendations they develop.”

“This task force is seeking to help the most vulnerable young New Yorkers — those who do not finish school, those who are not in the workforce or those who are involved with the criminal justice system,” said Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives Phillip Thompson. “As somebody who was myself in foster care for part of my youth, I truly understand the challenges and the need to create pathways and support. The de Blasio administration is implementing a comprehensive strategy that involves working more closely with industries and companies to create relationships and partnerships that help move at-risk people into long-term careers. Some of these strategies are already producing results to reduce rates of youth disconnection citywide but we need to do so much more. I look forward to working with members of the task force to develop a better coordinated strategy among programs servicing youth citywide.”

The Task Force, which is the product of a law passed by City Council in 2017, aims to produce a report that will include recommendations with regard to existing programs that could be improved, changed or eliminated to better service disconnected youth; evaluations, policy proposals and recommendations for changes to federal, state, or local laws; and recommendations on how the City could collect data reflecting the experiences and outcomes of disconnected youth.

The Task Force will be composed of designees from City Agencies, representatives from the CBOs that provide services to youth, intermediaries, representatives from the business community and young people who have been out of work and out of school.

“Equity and Excellence is about raising the bar for every single young person, no matter their circumstances. We can only keep all our students engaged by meeting them where they are, and I’m excited to partner with this Task Force and put even more of our young adults on a path to success,” said Schools Chancellor Richard A. Carranza.

“Addressing the needs of young people facing hard times is crucial. Through this taskforce, experts from City agencies, nonprofits and youth advocacy will come together to improve the delivery of services to help more and more young people reach their full potential,” said Department of Youth and Community Development Commissioner Bill Chong. “Young people need supportive services and opportunities to succeed and this taskforce will deepen the City's progress in improving and finding effective, innovative practices to work toward that goal.”

"Our future lies in young people who depend upon nurturing and guidance to thrive; especially during the years preceding adulthood when critical decisions are made about education and work.  I applaud the Mayor for naming such a strong panel of leaders who will be tasked with finding solutions to better support our city’s vulnerable youth,” said Senator Roxanne J. Persaud.

“As the former Chair of the Committee on Youth Services, and a longtime advocate for resources that create a better future for our young people, I want to commend Mayor Bill de Blasio for his leadership on this very important issue. The role of the Disconnected Youth Task Force, as established by Intro 708-A, voted by the City Council, will be to study the challenges facing our youth, ages 16 – 24, who are not enrolled in school and are not working. I believe that as a city, we have an obligation to help our youth secure opportunities so that they may become the leaders of tomorrow. The Disconnected Youth Taskforce is a critical part of how we must develop the next generation of New Yorkers, and I am honored to work with my colleagues in support of this initiative,” said Council Member Mathieu Eugene.

Task Force members Include:

Department of Youth and Community Development. Andre White, Associate Commissioner for Youth Workforce Development

Department of Education. Tim Lisante, Executive Superintendent for District 79

Administration for Children’s Services. Ray Singleton, Assistant Commissioner for Employment & Workforce Development

Human Resources Administration. Sara Haas, Deputy Commissioner for Career Services

Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Jane Bedell, Assistant Commissioner & Medical Director for Center for Heath Equity

Department for Homeless Services. Jerry Bruno, Strategic Project Manager, Mental Health

Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice. Amy Sananman, Senior Strategy Advisor

City University of New York. Cass Conrad, University Dean K-16

Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity. Carson Hicks, Deputy Executive Director

Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development. Amy Peterson, Executive Director

Office of the Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives. Michael Nolan, Chief Strategy Officer

Young Men’s Initiative. Charissa Townsend, Executive Director

Center for Youth Employment. David Fischer, Executive Director

The Fortune Society. Stanley Richards, Executive Vice President

Graham Windham. Jess Dannhauser, President & CEO

The GAP Inc. Tesandra Cohen, Manager, Community Partnerships

JobsFirstNYC. Marjorie Parker, President & CEO

United Neighborhood Houses. Gregory Brender. Director of Policy and Advocacy

Brotherhood/Sister Sol. Cidra M. Sebastien, Associate Executive Director

Youth Representative, Djibril Kaba

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