Council Member Debi Rose, Chair of the City Council’s Committee on Youth Services, today announced four victories for young people in the Fiscal Year 2020 budget:
$11.9 million added to the Summer Youth Employment Program to accommodate a total of 75,000 young people
a $19.7 million restoration for the Work, Learn, Grow program
$15 million in restored funding for 22,800 Summer SONYC slots
$14.2 million for the Comprehensive After School System (COMPASS) to serve 51,000 elementary school children—baselined for future years.
The final budget agreement came after months of advocacy from the City Council and local advocates to restore and expand these programs that benefit young New Yorkers and their families.
“This is a big win for our city’s young people,” said Councilwoman Debi Rose. “The shadow of uncertainty has been lifted for more than 20,000 families across the city — including more than 1,000 in my own borough — and dozens of child care providers who had been unsure of whether their summer SONYC programs would be in place next month. With this budget agreement, they can now sign up their middle-school children for summer SONYC programs.”
Previous Staten Island SONYC providers who, with this budget agreement, will once again be able to accept young people into their programs include African Refuge, the Police Athletic League, the Jewish Community Center and United Activities Unlimited. In previous years, these organizations have operated a combined total of 17 summer SONYC programs across Staten Island, serving as many as 1,220 middle school students.
“In addition, the baselining of funds for COMPASS after-school programs was also a victory for families and providers that I had fought hard for,” Councilwoman Rose said. “It means that many families and community providers will not have to wait in limbo every year. They can make long-term plans that stabilize their programs and assure families that children’s programs will be around from year to year.”
Finally, the expansion of Summer Youth Employment Program adds capacity for an additional 5,000 young people, for a total of 75,000 slots, while the Work Learn Grow restoration will provide former SYEP participants with career readiness training and paid employment opportunities for up to 25 weeks from October to April.
“The Summer Youth Employment Program has a decades-long record of connecting young people with their communities, teaching them financial literacy and preparing them for successful careers,” the councilwoman said. “SYEP -- as well as the Work, Learn, Grow program that offers year-round youth employment and training -- is a meaningful investment in young people and in the future well-being of our city.”
“I thank all those who advocated with me, including Speaker Corey Johnson, my City Council colleagues and the advocates and children who raised their voices with us on the steps of City Hall throughout this process,” the councilwoman added. “Together, we produced a budget that reflects our values, and I look forward to approving this budget in the City Council."
"Through after-school programs and youth employment programs, young people get the chance to grow and build skills,” said Gregory Brender, Director of Children and Youth Services at United Neighborhood Houses. “These programs are an important part of making a City livable for families. With the leadership of Youth Services Chair Debi Rose, and her colleagues in the New York City Council, New York City's FY 2020 budget makes meaningful investments that ensure more young people have the chance to participate in these programs."