“One group that has been hit hard by the economic downturn is our youth, especially young adults in urban and rural communities. That’s why I fought hard to restore $15.5 million in the final state budget for the Summer Youth Employment Program, which helps eager young adults find entry-level employment.
In 2010, the program helped 35,725 young adults find jobs in 5,800 worksites in New York City.
We had an obligation to balance the budget, but we also had to make responsible choices. It would have been irresponsible to balance the budget by cutting off job opportunities for motivated young adults seeking to gain professional work experience. Furthermore, it would have been counterproductive to keep these youths from contributing to their local economies and helping to provide for themselves or their families.
Parents across the state have seen how the current economy has evaporated job opportunities for young adults. They are nervous that their teenager or college-age child will not enjoy the same or better economic opportunities that they had. This $15.5 million restoration is a step in the right direction. We are making an investment in our youth that will pay dividends not only in the short term by providing a paycheck, but also in the long term by providing them with invaluable work experience, a foot in the door in competitive industries and a path to career advancement.”