(TNS) — New York City will work to support youth and young adults — including both current students and those who are out of school and unemployed — as they overcome the challenges of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday.
Those measures include a campaign with the City University of New York (CUNY) to engage 5,000 young adults to enroll in college this spring, as well as an initiative to connect more than 2,000 high school students with paid internships and opportunities to earn college credit.
"The measures we're announcing today represent just a first set of actions demonstrating our commitment to center their well-being as we begin the long road to recovery from the pandemic," said de Blasio in a press release. "We look forward to working with the new Biden-Harris administration and congressional leadership to build back NYC better than ever."
Additionally, the city shared a new report by the citywide Disconnected Youth Task Force, "Connecting Our Future," that focuses attention on New York City's population of out-of-school/out-of-work 16- to 24-year-olds.
The task force, originally convened in 2019, updated its original analysis to account for the unexpected spike of these young adults as a result of job losses and educational disruptions during the COVID-19 pandemic. This report will serve as the city's strategic plan to serve this population.
Here's a look at the initiatives focused on re-engaging young adult New Yorkers who aren't enrolled in school or aren't working.
CUNY Winter Bridge Program
CUNY launched a new Winter Bridge Program to enroll 5,000 students from the city Department of Education ( DOE) class of 2020 who accepted an offer to CUNY, but had yet to matriculate as of the fall semester. Current CUNY students will work as college coaches, sharing their own experiences as a college student and providing support to help new students complete CUNY enrollment and financial aid processes.
Students in the program can enroll for spring 2021 in CUNY Start/Math Start and Accelerated Studies in Associate Programs (ASAP).
CUNY Welcome Back Campaign
CUNY will also launch a Welcome Back campaign to re-engage at least 600 students, including 100 former CUNY ASAP students majoring in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields whose enrollments lapsed in 2020, as well as 500 prospective students who were recently admitted into CUNY community college programs but never enrolled. The campaign is in partnership with the Mayor's Fund to Advance NYC and the NYC Center for Youth Employment.
Participants in the campaign will receive intensive supports through admissions and re-enrollment processes, including financial aid, ongoing academic and career advisement, and STEM intensive programming with peers.
New Pre-Apprenticeship Initiative
The Young Men's Initiative (YMI) will launch License to Careers (L2C), a new pre-apprenticeship initiative to train and place 50 recent high school graduates into career-track positions within the transportation sector.
In partnership with the city Department of Youth & Community Development, the mayor's office will launch a new fellowship for young adults from Advance & Earn, a new training, education, and employment program launched last year for youth between the ages of 16-24. It will recruit 15 fellows for a four-month work experience to hone policy, research, and advocacy skills.
Some of the initiatives focus on keeping students engaged and on track by expanding career readiness and exploration opportunities for high-need youth include:
- A restructured Work Learn & Grow program to focus on college and career readiness.
- Expand and serve an additional 5,000 DOE students through the CUNY Explorers program that employs CUNY students as college coaches and mentors for middle school students.
- Train up to 25 nonprofit service providers to serve up to 500 youth with entrepreneurship activities and STEM career exploration.
- Expand eligibility in Anti-Gun Violence Employment Program (AGVEP) to serve up to 50 youth within secure detention. Youth will be engaged in an 18-week stipend-based program that starts under Administration for Children's Services (ACS) care and continues upon discharge with After Care services.
- Provide 12 weeks of tutoring to a total of 80 youth at both Horizon and Crossroads Juvenile Centers in support of remote learning.
The city has also created two new tools, WorkingNYC and Career Discovery NYC. WorkingNYC (working.nyc.gov) centralizes City programs and resources that help New Yorkers access employment, job training, and adult education, career exploration and skill building programs.
NYC Small Business Services has launched Career Discovery NYC (careerdiscovery.cityofnewyork.us), a centralized resource to assist New Yorkers with career discovery and training, features online, no-cost trainings that prepare New Yorkers with the necessary skills to pursue a pathway for an in-demand career path in the industrial, tech, and media sectors.
Councilwoman Debi Rose (D-North Shore) said in a statement that for generations, too many youth and young adults have been left behind in the education system and job market, which has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
"It is imperative that we engage these young people and proactively connect them with education and employment resources," Rose said. "The initiatives and partnerships announced today do just that, making significant investments in the futures of these young people and in the future of our city. This administration's leadership on this issue will pay dividends to New York City for years to come."
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