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Op-Ed | Pathways to success for our young people

Dec. 19, 2023 By Mayor Eric Adams

Our city’s future depends on being able to help our young people grow, fulfill their potential, and thrive in an ever-changing economy.

These days, it’s rare to think about spending decades at the same job, and education is the key to developing the flexibility and resourcefulness that our youth need to succeed. Helping each child find their way and achieve the career of their dreams has been a goal of our administration since day one. 

That is why we expanded our Summer Youth Employment Program and Summer Rising to serve a record number of young people and launched FutureReadyNYC with Google and Northwell Health to provide our youth with apprenticeships and opportunities in in-demand sectors, like tech and health care.

And now, we are building on those initiatives with Pathways to an Inclusive Economy: An Action Plan for Young Adult Career Success. This is a more than $600 million, forward-thinking roadmap that will position 250,000 young people to thrive in our city’s economy. 

The plan includes notable new investments like $10 million in the CUNY 2x Tech initiative, which offers our young people a pipeline to the tech sector, by bringing the initiative to five new CUNY campuses, including community colleges for the first time ever.

Additionally, we have secured a $130 million grant from the federal government to become the first city to partner with the U.S. Department of Labor Jobs Corps Program. This will allow us to train, place, and provide wraparound support to 2,000 young adults in fast-growing industries — all free of charge. 

We also know that all young people don’t start at the same place. We must be able to serve our youth where they are. The New York City Department of Youth and Community Development and the

Metropolitan Transportation Authority are piloting new electrical pre-apprenticeship programs for 50 out-of-school and out-of-work young adults, thanks to a $1.7 million grant from the Department of Labor.  

It is important for New Yorkers to understand what all these programs mean for our young people. Right now, a middle schooler has the opportunity to attend Summer Rising, visit a CUNY college, and realize that college is a possibility. Each of these steps are crucial.

Helping them visit a CUNY college expands their horizons and allows them to dream big.

In high school, our young people can get a paid internship at a tech firm through the Summer Youth Employment Program, and perhaps realize they love computers. After that, they can attend that same CUNY college they visited when they were younger, major in computer science, and become an apprentice for a tech company, gaining a mentor and hands-on experience.

Our goal for our young people is to have them graduate with a degree in one hand, and a job offer in the other because government has been creating the right environment for them every step of the way.

Our message is clear. We are telling employers your future talent is right here in New York City. Not only are you going to get young people with technical skills, but you’re going to get real New Yorkers — people who are able to handle a variety of situations and bring a diversity of backgrounds and experience to their work.

This plan is for our young people because New York City is still the place where anything is possible. 

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