Nearly 100 Additional Jobs Created Under Governor Cuomo’s At Risk Youth Initiative on Long Island.
Suffolk County, NY - August 8, 2018 - Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone today announced nearly 900 students participated in Suffolk County’s Summer Youth Employment Program, an increase of approximately 100 students from the previous year due to additional funding provided by New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to divert at-risk youth from gang activity. The Summer Youth Employment Program has been in existence for over 50 years in Suffolk County and provides economically disadvantaged and at-risk youth from across the county with first-time work experience.
“It is critical that we keep our students engaged during the summer months and provide them with the tools necessary to succeed,” said Suffolk County Executive Bellone. “This program allows participants to not only earn a wage but to gain experience to put on a resume, develop a strong work ethic and desire to succeed, and attain skills that will prepare them for joining the workforce once their education is completed. I applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership and providing the additional funding necessary to be able to serve a greater number of students.”
New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance Commissioner Samuel D. Roberts said: “Through Governor Cuomo’s leadership, the state has taken a dynamic approach to combatting gang violence across the state, especially on Long Island, by providing at-risk youth with the opportunities and supportive services they need to succeed. I applaud the Governor and my partners on the local level on prioritizing this initiative and giving children of Long Island a chance at a better tomorrow.”
Suffolk County Legislator Monica Martinez said: “As a Suffolk County Legislator, it is my pleasure to not only support but continue expanding the summer youth employment program. As adults, we need to provide our youth with an opportunity to work so they may build valuable skills, essential employment experience, and develop a sense of professionalism to propel them into being productive members of society. The summer youth employment program not only gives students the understanding and value of money, but it also gives them a sense of what it means to go out and work on a daily basis and to take care of one’s self and family.”
Dr. Monique Darrisaw-Akil, Assistant Superintendent of Secondary Education, Brentwood Union Free School District said: "These summer jobs represent more than a paycheck for our youth; they represent a chance to learn important career skills, explore new fields, give back to their community and save for school supplies. We are thankful that the Governor and County Executive have continued to invest in our students by creating more opportunities for our young people to earn while they learn during the summer months."
The Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs received $1.6 million in funding from New York State Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance to help run the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). An additional $150,000 in funding was made available to supplement the program as part of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo’s multi-agency plan to reduce gang violence and divert at risk youth away from gang activity. The supplemental funding allowed the program to serve 76 additional youth participants. The additional jobs for at risk youth focused on the communities of Wyandanch, Brentwood and Bellport.
The purpose of the Summer Youth Employment Program is to provide young adults from economically disadvantaged homes and at risk youth, ranging in age from 14 to 21, with the tools and framework necessary for success in their future career paths. This year the program has employed 888 young adults from all across the County. The young workers are working at 75 different worksites including school districts, not for profit organizations and County agencies. The youth workers are working in various seasonal positions such as custodial aides, camp counselors, food service aides, clerical aides and teacher aides.
All of the youth working are paid $11 an hour and work 25 hours per week. This year the program runs from July 2, 2018 to August 17, 2018, with Brentwood School District being the exception, running from June 25, 2018 to August 10, 2018. Applications for the program open at the end of April and applications are readily available for eligible students at various school districts and the Suffolk County Department of Labor, Licensing and Consumer Affairs.
In order to be eligible for the Summer Youth Employment Program, a participant’s family income must be below the 200% federal poverty level. Automatic eligibility is given to families collecting any sort of Public Assistance including cash grant, food stamps, Medicaid, SSI or HEAP.
Out of the 888 youth employed, 772 jobs were created through the summer Temporary Assistance To Needy Family (TANF) program, 76 jobs were created through the Governor’s Office for Gang Prevention, and 40 jobs were created through the Workforce Innovation & Opportunity Act (WIOA).