Mayor Ras J. Baraka joined multiple local and national philanthropic supporters, representatives of the business and university community, and teen program participants this week to launch the 2021 Newark Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). Newark SYEP is a six-week initiative (July-August) that will employ more than 3,000 Newarkers aged 14-24 seeking summer learning and employment experiences that will lead them to their future careers. The program’s multi-faceted approach helps participants identify their strengths and assets, learn about different career pathways, make informed and personalized decisions on their road to success in the 21st century workforce; and teach them financial skills.

Thanks to a strong public-private partnership built over years, Newark SYEP continued virtually even in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic in the summer of 2020 through a Learn and Earn model. Youth in the 2021 program will receive an experience that includes webinars, remote work experiences, and virtual coaching with some in-person presentations and learning opportunities.

“When I took office, we set a goal in Newark to grow both the scale and the quality of the Summer Youth Employment Program because I recognize the unique opportunity it brings to our youth. It is now a model public-private partnership, and a particularly important resource this summer,” said Mayor Baraka. “As a lifelong educator, I know the amazing things that can happen when we ground ourselves in the development of our youth. Therefore, it is fitting that they would be a big part in bringing us back together again this summer and leading us forward.”

Newark SYEP serves as a critical “bridge” as the city prepares its youth to return to school full-time in the fall, and the whole city of Newark comes “Back Together Again” this summer. A growing body of research consistently shows the benefits of youth employment programs in addressing future workforce needs, filling the apparent “skills gap,” increasing higher educational attainment, and health and safety outcomes, all while providing youth and their families with needed income, and strengthening Newark’s economy.

Enrolled youth will engage in independent and group projects that help answer complex questions, real-world problems or receive project-based work assignments. All projects will reinforce critical thinking, collaboration, responsibility, initiative, creativity, problem solving, responsibility, and communication. Participants will develop deep content knowledge of a specific workplace skill and/or enhance their understanding of careers and demonstrate their knowledge and skills by creating a public product/presentation for employers, partners and peers.

Focus industries this year include: Arts; Early Childhood Development; Education; Entrepreneurship; Environment; IT; Marketing; Media; Music; Social Justice, Advocacy & Activism; and STEM. The program’s curriculum includes mental health and wellness topics to help youth cope with the current pandemic, set healthy habits for their continued wellbeing and an overall better quality of life moving forward. It is designed to equip them with practical knowledge, tools, and to measure their yearly progress as they develop hard and soft skills needed to create real pathways towards thriving careers and economic independence.

In addition to the educational component of the program, the Newark SYEP team built partnerships to offer wraparound resources directly to families and ensure that youth have the technology and nutrition necessary to be successful.

The Newark Summer Youth Employment Program is a collective effort with the commitment of numerous philanthropic supporters. Grant funding partners that make this program possible include AT&T; Bank of America; Capital One; Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund; Citi Foundation; Edison Properties Newark Foundation; Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey through its charitable arm, the Horizon Foundation of New Jersey; JP Morgan Chase; M&T Bank; the Maher Charitable Foundation; the MCJ Amelior Foundation; the Prudential Foundation; the PSEG Foundation; RWJ Barnabas Health; Santander; the State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development; the TD Charitable Foundation; Victoria Foundation; Wells Fargo; to the amount of $2 million.

“The AT&T Foundation is proud to contribute to the Newark Summer Youth Employment Program’s success in engaging participating youth in workplace readiness training with effective digital learning experiences,” said Althea R. Yancy, Regional VP, AT&T External Affairs. “The program’s pivot to a virtual platform in response to the COVID-19 pandemic is aligned with AT&T’s commitment to help bridge the digital divide. We are thrilled to once again support Newark’s young people through the SYEP this summer.”

“The Newark Summer Youth Employment Program helps thousands of Newark youth find exceptional job and career-building opportunities,” said Alberto Garofalo, President of Bank of America New Jersey. “We look forward to the continued success of the program as they prepare the next generation of New Jersey leaders while strengthening our region overall for years to come.”

“Meaningful summer employment is an important opportunity for young people to learn early professional and financial management skills, and even more critical as our communities continue to face the economic impacts of COVID-19” said Brandee McHale, Head of Citi Community Investing and Development and President of the Citi Foundation. “These summer job experiences can make all the difference in helping to lay the foundation for a strong financial future, and Citi Foundation is proud to continue partnering with the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund to help connect youth to opportunities that help build their careers and contribute to the resilience of their communities.”

“Newark Beth Israel Medical Center has been a supporter of the Newark Summer Youth Employment Program since its inception. We are proud to continue to partner with this program to enrich the lives of our young people and offer them a window into the healthcare industry and what it takes to deliver excellent patient care to the diverse communities that we serve,” said Darrell K. Terry, Sr., MHA, MPH, FACHE, President and Chief Executive Officer, Newark Beth Israel Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of New Jersey.

Newark SYEP has nearly 100 program partners from the university and business communities, non-profit organizations, and city government departments. These include the Gem Project, the Exponentially Well Institute, Student Dream, OppNet Summer Science Research Program, United Parks as One, the City Planning Institute at Westside High School, Jersey Cares, Yendor Murals, Children’s Hospital of New Jersey at Newark Beth Israel Medical Center, Newark Police Explorers, Essex County College Pre-College Readiness, Seton Hall, New Jersey Institute of Technology, Rutgers University – Newark, Abbott Leadership Institute, Schools that Can, Newark Emergency Services for Families, Newark Makerhoods, Level Fields Consulting, Programs for Parents, Panasonic, SHE Wins, Inc., NJ Health Care Employers – District 1199J, the Clubhouse, Greater Newark Conservancy, and multiple city departments, among many others.

Between persistent racial injustice, the COVID-19 pandemic and the resulting economic downturn, it’s been a challenging time for families across the country,” said Linda M. Rodríguez, Executive Director, Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase. “And especially in under-resourced communities, young people are being hit particularly hard. That’s why JPMorgan Chase is working with cities to address this problem by identifying innovative strategies for reconnecting young people to work-based learning experiences. Summer jobs provide students with a meaningful learning work-based experience, source of income, chance to build professional networks, and pride in their ability to contribute to their families and communities.”

“The Newark Summer Youth Employment Program is a vital resource that builds capacity and opportunities for youth in our City,” said Jonathan Pearson, Executive Director of The Horizon Foundation for New Jersey. “The program serves as a model and aligns with Horizon’s commitment to making a lasting and positive change in the communities we serve.”

We are a long-time and proud supporter of the Newark Summer Youth Employment Program, a stellar program that provides thousands of young people in our city the opportunity to earn money and gain critical leadership skills, said Irene Cooper Basch, Co-Executive Officer, Victoria Foundation.

“Preparing Newark’s next generation for success in the workforce is a goal we’re proud to share with SYEP,” said Angela Moultrie, Regional President at Santander Bank. “Since 2016, we’ve worked alongside SYEP to ensure young people have access to job training, career development opportunities, and financial education – keys to their future success as contributors to the communities where we live, work, and serve.”

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