“Why don’t you get a summer job?’ seems to be the cry of mothers everywhere to their teenage children. During those hot summer months, the choice for teens and young adults seems to be lounge around the house, or get a summer job. But due to the current job market where adults are scrounging for full-time positions, opportunities for part-time teenagers seem to be dwindling.
Thanks to the effort of New York City’s Department of Youth and Community Development, programs are in place to ensure teens and young adults have an opportunity to develop skills and experience in real-life working environments.
The Summer Youth Employment program (SYEP), established in 2003, is a city-funded program that provides summer employment and educational experience to New York Youth ages 16-24. For more than 40 years, the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood (the Y) has provided work study/internships for hundreds of New York City’s youth. In the past, the Y participated in the SYEP program, taking in roughly 50 of northern-Manhattan’s youth as counselors for their summer day camp, camp Yomawha (located at the Henry Kaufmann campgrounds in Pearl River, NY), and their nursery camp. This year, the Y looks to take a big step forward in participating in the SYEP program by acting as a program hub. The Y has been selected to coordinate the job placement of 300 northern-Manhattan youth this coming summer. “It is one of the most important functions of our Y to help young people find employment and careers through active engagement in the workplace”, says Martin Englisher, Executive Vice President of the Y.
This will be no easy task, as the Y will be required to not only screen the 300 youth participants, but participating employers will need to be committed and screened as well. But the Y is ready to take on the challenge. “We are looking forward to sharing our core values, work ethics and help the young people to achieve financial independence while pursuing career goals” says Vicki. With years of dedicated youth programing, the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood looks forward to doing what it can to enrich the lives of the local youth.
The primary goal of the program, according to the DYCD is to “emphasize real-world labor expectations, increase awareness of services offered by local community-based organizations, [and] provide opportunities for career instruction, financial literacy training, academic improvement, and social growth”. In 2012, the DYCD placed approximately 30,000 of New York City’s youth into 5,677 participating work establishments. Positions were primarily entry-level, with institutions spanning government agencies, hospitals, summer camps, nonprofits, small businesses, law firms, museums, sports enterprises, and retail organizations.
For more information on the YM&YWHA of Washington Heights and Inwood and its participation in the DYCD SYEP program, please contact SYEP Program Director, Patrick Norberto at [email protected] ; (212) 569-6200 ext. 239, or visit http://ywashhts.org/summer-youth-employment-program-syep. The Y is located at 54 Nagle Ave, New York, NY 10040, between Broadway and Ellwood.
Written by Ari Lewis
Photo by Roj Rodriguez