Mayor Ras J. Baraka joined multiple local and national philanthropic supporters, representatives of the business and university community, and teen program participants to launch the 2022 Newark Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP).
Newark SYEP offers the city’s youth a combination of career exploration, financial empowerment, workplace readiness training, paid work experiences, mentoring and coaching, and year-round touchpoints that consistently reinforce effective career growth behaviors –leveling the field between Newarkers and their suburban peers. Mayor Baraka’s leadership in building a strong public-private partnership that blends city, state, and private funding allows the City of Newark to enroll 3,000 youth, triple the number before he took office, making it the largest such program in the State of New Jersey. Newark SYEP has garnered repeated national attention as a model program from the White House to, most recently, JP Morgan Chase, which spotlighted Newark in a national $20 million investment in summer youth employment programs nationwide in May.
“As a former SYEP participant, I’ve seen the program’s benefits first-hand, and am committed to investing in our youth every chance we can to prepare them to be the future leaders of this city,” said Mayor Baraka. “This program levels the playing field and gives our youth access to high-quality opportunities that will make them competitive in our fast-changing economy. SYEP has built the structure we need to make sure our children have the power to realize dreams they would not have been able to achieve without our support. We thank our partners who have committed themselves to backing our youth in this important program.”
SYEP’s intended overall impact is to increase young people’s success in obtaining gainful employment and breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty, allowing their families to become financially stable and their communities to build wealth. For six weeks between July and August, up to 3,000 Newarkers aged 14 to 24 are offered an opportunity for learning and employment experiences that will provide on-ramps to their future career goals. Our multi-faceted approach helps participants identify their strengths and assets, learn about different career pathways, and make informed and personalized decisions on their road to success in today’s workforce.
The only city in New Jersey to continue robust programming through a hybrid Learn and Earn model during the COVID-19 pandemic, Newark will return to in-person employment opportunities for youth this year. Industries of focus include: Arts; Early Childhood Development; Education; Entrepreneurship; Environment; IT; Marketing; Media; Music; Social Justice, Advocacy & Activism; and STEM. 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.
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. As the City of Newark continues to focus on cultivating a safe and healthy community this summer through the Mayor’s Back Together Again initiative, SYEP provides a critical lifeline for youth to learn, earn money, and access opportunities that would otherwise be unavailable.
“Summer jobs are so much greater than just a paycheck. It is our opportunity to infuse work readiness, financial health, and time management into young people’s lives. SYEP is the place where many find their true career path and playing a part in that is rewarding,” said NewarkWORKS Youth Program Director Marsha Armstrong.
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 nearly $2.5 million.
“Summer job experiences play an important role in helping young people achieve greater financial stability for themselves and their families,” said Brandee McHale, Head of Citi Community Investing and Development and President of the Citi Foundation. “It’s been a privilege of the Citi Foundation to support the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund in its work of connecting young people in Newark with summer jobs that give them the opportunity to develop invaluable workplace and money management skills that will serve them throughout their careers.”
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.