New York City’s economy is growing, but black and Latino young men are still disproportionally unemployed or underemployed. Being disconnected from the job market traps young men in a cycle of economic hardship that can last for generations. That’s why YMI has launched several programs to help Black and Latino young men find—and keep—jobs.
A Sample of YMI Employment Programs:
Executive Order 150: Helping New Yorkers Access Identification
State-issued identification is critical to gaining employment, enrolling in public benefit programs and opening a bank account. Executive Order 150 is a public awareness campaign that provides New Yorkers with vital information on how to obtain state-issued photo identification.
The Young Adult Internship Program (YAIP)
YAIP is spearheaded by the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development and serves more than 3,000 Black and Latino youth, more than 16% of whom are neither working nor in school YAIP lowers that percentage through a three-phase process of assessment, educational workshops and placement in advanced training courses or jobs.
Jobs-Plus helps all working-age residents of NC public housing developments, where 56% of residents do not report employment and 84% of households earn below NYC’s average median income. Jobs-Plus improves on-site access to employment-related services, promotes rent-based work incentives to help workers retain paychecks and supports activities that promote household-to-household networking.
YMI has worked with NYC agencies since 2011 to provide young men of color with the internships, job training and placement that are essential to help level the playing field. In the words of Mindy Tarlow, CEO of the Center for Employment Opportunities, “We can’t afford to leave young men of color behind. We need everyone to help level the playing field to ensure equal opportunities so NYC achieves economic growth and prosperity.”
American Education Week!
A poll last month found 46% of people surveyed believe one does not need a college diploma to be successful. Over and over again people cite Bill Gates, Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerburg as proof that college isn’t for everyone. And it may not be, but education is.
This week is American Education Week and all over the country public schools are hosting events to celebrate public education and honoring those who motivate students to take charge of their futures. Every day features a special observance:
American Education Week emerged from a meeting between the National Education Association and the American Legion in 1919 (1919!). At the time, the country was distressed that 25% of their World War I draftees were illiterate and 9% were physically unfit. The purpose of the meeting was to seek ways to generate public support for education.
By 1921, the NEA called for: “An educational week … observed in all communities annually for the purpose of informing the public of the accomplishments and needs of the public schools and to secure the cooperation and support of the public in meeting those needs.”
So, this week take a moment to honor and thank those who push you to reach your full potential, take part in an event and raise your hand for student success!
A Success Story: Dariel Vasquez
Though the dropout rate has fallen significantly since 2005, to 11.4 percent from 22 percent in 2012 in New York City, one of the largest systems of public schools in the United States, there is much more to be done. The Expanded Success Initiative (ESI), a partner program of YMI founded in 2011, uses new and creative solutions to narrow the achievement gap for black and Latino young men to help them succeed in college and careers.
Every spring, 40 high schools are selected for investment and research. The selection is based on a competitive design challenge, which asked schools to propose strategies that work to raise the bar within three inter-related core areas of school operation: academic rigor, youth development, and school culture. The selected schools begin implementing their designs beginning with the entering 9th grade class the upcoming Fall. The idea is the investment will be felt more broadly as the lessons learned from these schools are translated into systemic reform across the City.
Dariel Vasquez’s Success Story: Growing up in a West Harlem housing project, Dariel Vasquez grew up in a place where crime, drugs and dropping out of school were the norm. In his personal success story he writes “I came very close to becoming a statistic and fulfilling every negative and racist stereotype society holds for us. No matter how much love and support I received from my parents, the truth is, growing up a young man of color is a dangerous thing.” By the time he reached high school, Dariel enrolled at an ESI high school. “I’m exactly like the other boys and young men who are running the streets, rotting in jail or dead. My only escape was my understanding that I could change my direction for the better.” Thanks to the support he received from teachers, staff and peers, he is now at Bard College with a full-ride scholarship pursuing a career in orthopedic surgery.
It takes one person, one story to give hope to the effort that these men’s futures are a result of opportunities paired with choice. We hope the result is more stories like Dariel’s in which young men of color are finding themselves in high education and pursuing their dreams.
To learn more about YMI and how it is helping black and Latino men attain the promise of a good education and a bright future please visit www.nyc.gov/youngmen
Making it Happen!
The NYC Young Men’s Initiative is “Making it Happen” with First Youth Empowerment Summit (YES!); Saturday, Nov. 9
This Saturday, we will be hosting our first Youth Empowerment Summit, and we are so excited. We are saying “YES” to opportunity, access and engagement for hundreds of young men of color in New York City.The day will be packed with a variety of student-organized workshops and seminars including:
The day will also consist of performances of spoken word poetry, success stories from the city’s own.
“Youth are the promise of our city, and with our best efforts to remove barriers to opportunity, these young men will be able to take their rightful place as leaders in their families, communities and our city,” said YMI Director Jahmani Hylton. “That’s what this day is about. Saying YES to these men and providing them with the resources they need to take charge of their futures.”
Stay tuned for an update on how it goes!
The Challenges in Education
Six out of ten young men in New York City are Black or Latino—a fact that may not seem surprising or even particularly noteworthy—but when paired with the fact that Black and Latino young men are the least likely to complete high school, the reality is disconcerting. This means 60% of the young men in New York City are currently being underserved, lacking the high school diplomas and career and college readiness to reach their full potential.
Though the reality may sound grim, great work is being done to reduce the achievement gap between Black and Latino young adults and their White and Asian peers. Since 2011, we have worked with NYC agencies to support Black and Latino young men in obtaining the education they need to become leaders and role models in their communities. We have invested in roughly eight programs that use new and creative solutions to narrow the achievement gap for Black and Latino young men to help them succeed.
One such example is the Expanded Success Initiative (ESI). Through ESI, 40 NYC high schools receive the funds to improve their academics, youth development programs and general culture for young men of color.
Education is the most influential factor in anyone’s life. It shapes outcomes for economic security, good health and civic engagement. Next week, we will share the success story of Dariel Vasquez, an alumnus of an ESI high school who believed at 16 that he “had two choices in life: hell or prison.” We’ll be the first to tell you he chose college.
Banning the Box in NYC
(Fortune Society’s Glenn Martin speaks to employers about Ban the Box. Photo: Department of Probation)
New York City is doing its part to “level the playing field” for qualified job seekers who have prior convictions. The Young Men’s Initiative, in partnership with the Human Services Council and Fortune Society, is hosting leadership training sessions for human service providers who do business with the City. They’re learning how Executive Order 151, also known as “Ban the Box”, and recent revisions to the Human Services Standard Contract change the application process to give prospective employees with prior convictions a fair shot.
At the first training, employers heard from Department of Probation Commissioner Vincent Schiraldi about the importance of expanding their applicant pool by considering qualified New Yorkers with criminal convictions. Two young men with criminal convictions also spoke about the difficulties of finding a job because of the stigma embedded in the application.
There are two more sessions available: November 14thand 16th. Learn more and sign up.
Read Executive Order 151
Since its launch in August 2011, the Young Men’s Initiative has impacted the lives of nearly 4,000 young men across New York City. The Year One results are highlighted in the newly-released Young Men’s Initiative 2012 Annual Report found here: http://on.nyc.gov/SzY8Lg. Learn all about the 40+ programs and policies that make up the Young Men’s Initiative and how we’re tracking progress.
“We created the Young Men’s Initiative because we were committed to finding new ways for young black and Latino men to succeed in their lives – and we’re encouraged by the progress we’ve made just a year later,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “From implementing an aggressive agenda designed to effectively intervene at the most critical moments to bringing black and Latino young men together with adult mentors, we are making a difference in young people’s lives. We will continue to take aggressive steps to ensure that all New Yorkers are able to fully participate in the promise our city holds.”
Some of the results over the past year include:
- 366 young adults placed into jobs through Work Progress
- 5,086 people engaged with the City about the Get your ID campaign
- 320 participants served through the Young Adult Literacy Program,
- AND MORE….! - www.nyc.gov/youngmen
We’re proud to announce the launch of the Young Men’s Initiative Tumblr page. This is where you’ll find information on program updates, events, interviews with participants, and more! You can follow the Young Men’s Initiative on twitter @nycyoungmen to receive notifications when new posts are added! And visit us at our new digital home: www.nyc.gov/youngmen.
Three more NeONs Open!
Jamaica NeON. Opened July 17, 2012 (Above)
South Bronx NeON. Opened August 28, 2012 (Middle)
Staten Island NeON. Opened September 27, 2012 (Below)
Hundreds of more people on probation are now able to access a range of services when they visit their probation officer at offices located right in their own neighborhood! That’s because three new Neighborhood Opportunity Networks (NeONs) opened over the summer and one in September: one in South Jamaica at 162-24 Jamaica Avenue another in the South Bronx at 198 E. 161st St and one on Staten Island at 340 Bay St. Together they’ll serve more than 1,000 people on probation by connecting them to local programs, opportunities, and resources.
There are now five NeONs located throughout the city, including in Brownsville and Harlem.
Each NeON is connected to a network of education, business, and community-based organizations – including literacy and skills building programs, work and employment preparation, health care, academic and technical education and mentoring.
To read more about the NeONs visit our website: www.nyc.gov/youngmen
Meeting a Giant (A NY Giant, that is)
These lucky students got the chance to meet Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz during training camp in Albany. It was all part of theFive Ways Education Pays campaign.
Cruz talked with the students after practice about his newly-released autobiographyOut of the Blue. The students were challenged to read the 304-page book during the summer and answer questions on how education played a role in Cruz’s road to stardom.
Cruz also asked the students his own questions; what they thought of the book and how they planned on incorporating education into their professional and personal lives. That’s not all! The University of Massachusetts alum spent some time, of course, signing footballs, t-shirts, headphones and more!
The Five Ways Education Pays Campaign is a two-year initiative to increase college awareness and aspirations in black and Latino middle school boys and their families by promoting the five concrete ways that going to college pays off in the long run: higher income, better health, more security, strong communities, and closer families. - www.nyc.gov/youngmen