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JobsFirstNYC and New York City Deputy Mayor’s Office of Strategic Initiatives Launch New Partnership to Enhance Summer Youth Employment Employer Experience

JobsFirstNYC has announced a new partnership with The New York City Deputy Mayor’s Office of Strategic Initiatives and the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). The goal is to support the expansion of DYCD’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) in New York City from 75,000 to 100,000 young adults through systemic partnerships and capacity building. Long-term, the strategy is to improve work-based learning (WBL) experiences of young people via small and midsized private sector employers, beginning with SYEP and then continuing on to year-round WBL opportunities.

The collaboration between JobsFirstNYC and the Mayor’s Office resulted from Mayor Eric Adams’ initiative to provide a record 100,000 quality jobs over the summer for young adults in New York City. Building, strengthening, and growing employer partnerships is instrumental for increasing the number and quality of employment opportunities for young people. Every year, across New York City, there are thousands of young adults who are looking for high-quality year-round and summer work experiences. Many employers are interested in working with young adults, but are challenged on how to best work with them and provide high-quality work opportunities. This is particularly true for many small- to mid-sized businesses, which make up 89% of all businesses in New York City. Without support and training, some businesses lack the capacity to develop a program for working with young adults effectively. Given these challenges of not having enough employers to provide more and better opportunities for young adults and young adults needing to get high-quality work experience, we have two goals:

  1. Strengthen employer capacity to provide a high-quality WBL experience for young adults; and
  2. Sustaining and growing employer relationships by building and implementing supports based on individualized employer needs.

JobsFirstNYC has worked with more than 160 organizations in communities across New York City to build innovative solutions that connect young adults to economic opportunities, and we are primed to bring our partnership process to City Hall. We are convening a Roundtable of multiple stakeholders (government, employers, nonprofit providers) to identify how best to build a supportive system for employers, providers, and young adults to engage in SYEP and WBL. This Roundtable launched on April 20, 2022 and is facilitated by JobsFirstNYC partner Public Works Partners, a WBE-, DBE-, and SBE-certified planning and consulting firm that engages communities, designs smart plans, and implements policies for public and nonprofit clients. 

“Our partnership with the Deputy Mayor’s office allows us to closely collaborate with other nonprofits, young adults, families, community members, and the business community on the decisions that most impact New York City. JobsFirstNYC has been a leader in investigating, imagining, incubating, implementing, and integrating solutions that work to remove barriers for young people and the administration’s new initiative aligns with our mission,” said Marjorie Parker, president and CEO of JobsFirstNYC. “We are excited to provide our years of on-the-ground experience, research, and recommendations to facilitate a better understanding of how we can improve the workforce when young people receive a quality experience with their employer.”

Deputy Mayor for Strategic Initiatives Sheena Wright, who is leading the effort from the Mayor’s Office said, “The Mayor’s office is committed to supporting young New Yorkers in accessing work-based learning opportunities, building the necessary skills and experience needed to connect to our City’s world-class labor market. The City is excited to partner with JobsFirstNYC and local small and mid-sized businesses to create high-quality experiences for all young people.

“Public Works Partners is delighted to collaborate with JobsFirstNYC and the Mayor’s Office to support the expansion of New York City’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). We believe in the critical importance of SYEP to provide young people with meaningful work experiences and opportunities to explore their career pathways. We are excited to bring together stakeholders across government, community-based organizations, and employers to discuss how they can collaborate to unlock the talent of young New Yorkers through career-based learning strategies.” – Celeste Frye, Principal and CEO of Public Works Partners

 JobsFirstNYC is also coordinating training for employers to prepare private-sector employers on how to engage young adults and to provide support and mentoring. JobsFirstNYC’s strategic partner MotivationCheck, a Learning and Development organization whose experience has positively impacted corporate and nonprofit workforces globally for almost twenty years from entry-level to C-Suite, will provide the training for employers.

“It’s more important than ever for organizations to prioritize building and sustaining workplace cultures where deep trust and high expectations, working together in an “elevating, virtuous cycle,” deliver more for the business — and for your people. We believe that a vibrant company culture that supports and nurtures our employees is so important that it is the key to our success—and a unique and sustainable competitive advantage. We learned that investing in our interns was the beginning of building a resilient culture that became the power behind successfully navigating organizational change. We look forward to helping employers who provide work-based learning, internships, and jobs to young adults to create a great place to work so great work takes place.” – Paul Ortega, Principal and Co-Founder, MotivationCheck

Jade Grieve, Chief of Student Pathways, New York City Department of Education noted, 

“Our students need more career-connected and work-based learning opportunities that will support them on a path to long term economic security. The expansion of SYEP is a key step towards ensuring that more students gain access to paid work experience — and a vital one to help them build skills and make informed decisions.”

In a joint statement, the CEOs of New York City Five-Borough Chamber Alliance, key SYEP partners, said “We are very supportive of the strategy to engage small and mid-size businesses, which comprise the majority of our members, in accessing talent while providing high quality work experiences for young adults in New York City.” 

At the February 15, 2022 announcement of the expansion of SYEP for this summer, New York City Mayor Eric Adams said, “Young people in this city should have the opportunity to work or learn this summer, and this historic investment will help secure a better future for tens of thousands while helping to make our city safer. We owe it to our children to give them every opportunity to thrive, and this expansion will do just that.”

The New York SYEP is the nation’s largest youth employment program and has run every year since its inception in 1963. The program typically runs for six weeks in July and August and is open to youth between 14 and 24 years old. 

To find out more about the partnership, contact Amanda Rosenblum, Senior Director, Education Solutions at JobsFirstNYC at

To sign up to be an SYEP employer, visit the DYCD website here to get started.

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