Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo has signed a bill creating “NY Youth Works,” an inner city youth employment program that will combat high unemployment in the state’s metro areas. The new law includes $25 million in tax credits for businesses that hire unemployed and disadvantaged youth and $6 million to support job training programs. The governor was joined by his colleagues from the State Legislature at a bill-signing ceremony last week at Medgar Evers College in Brooklyn.
“We are giving young adults in our cities the skills and the opportunity to build a career,” Cuomo said. “With four out of every 10 inner-city young adults looking for work, our state faces an unemployment crisis within an unemployment crisis that needs to be immediately addressed.”
Through the N.Y. Youth Works program, the governor said, young people would be placed on a career path aimed at preventing a cycle of poverty. Not only would it be “an investment in our youth, but an investment in the collective future of our state,” Mr. Cuomo added.
The N.Y. Youth Works program provides $25 million in tax credits to benefit employers that hire unemployed youth over the first six months of 2012, with the ultimate goal of permanent, unsubsidized employment.
N.Y. Youth Works will function in three phases:
Phase 1: For up to six weeks before a youth is placed in employment, youth providers, like not-for-profits and workforce investment boards, will prepare eligible youth with skills such as work readiness, occupational training, and digital literacy.
Phase 2: Businesses will be offered a $3,000 wage subsidy in the form of tax credits to hire disadvantaged youths for six months. Preference will be given to employers in demand industries such as clean energy, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and conservation. Priority will be given to employers that provide on-site occupational skills training during this period. During Phase 1 and Phase 2, participating youth will be provided with up to three monthly stipends of $300 to cover costs associated with transitioning into the workplace.
Phase 3: An additional $1,000 tax credit will be available to employers that retain the participating youths for an additional six months.
Under the new law, $62 million in funding will be provided to critical job training and support programs for inner city youth, including basic education programs, summer youth employment, job search and placement initiatives, and child care.
Eligible participants for the jobs program include unemployed, low-income youth aged 16 through 24 who are located in one of the following areas: Albany, Brookhaven, Buffalo, Hempstead, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, New York City, Rochester, Schenectady, Syracuse, Utica, and Yonkers.
“While Washington is paralyzed by gridlock, we have worked together in New York to advance a plan that instills fairness in our tax code, stimulates New York’s economy, and creates jobs,” Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said. “The Assembly majority has made it a priority to fight for and fund jobs programs for inner city young people because unemployment among our youth is unacceptably high.
“That is why I am so pleased that, with the strong leadership of Gov. Cuomo, we were able to include the Inner City Youth Employment Program and tax credit in the larger agreement to cut taxes on working families and create jobs. This is not only about unemployment and the economy, it’s also about our children. I am confident our efforts will go far in helping young New Yorkers find good paying jobs and keep them.”
State Sen. John L. Sampson (D-Brooklyn) said, “The most worthwhile investments we can make in government are investments in our youth -- the future workforce that will carry on this state’s legacy of economic vitality and innovation. He hgave credit to the governor for his leadership and “his strong commitment to an urban agenda.’
This legislation, which includes a business tax credit for employers, “will ensure that more young people in inner city communities gain useful skills and embark on fulfilling careers,” Sampson added.
Statistics show that finding employment at a young age helps ensure long term professional success. This legislation sends the right message that we will not ignore the needs of young people in communities that are often overlooked.”
Medgar Evers President, Dr. William Pollard Gov. Cuomo’s job initiative underscores what he has repeatedly emphasized in his remarks about our state economy. “There is nothing New Yorkers need more than jobs, jobs, jobs. We believe that in urban communities like Central Brooklyn, an impactful inner-city youth employment program can create real momentum and stabilization for the local economy.
“In turn our young people, who have struggled so noticeably in finding meaningful employment and opportunity, can help drive economic growth and local competitiveness. I applaud the governor for making the future of our inner-city youth a priority and legislative focus.”