A Campaign To Address Crisis Level Youth Unemployment in New York State
In December of 2016, YI released a study–Sounding the Alarm: New York’s Young Adult Unemployment Crisis & the Need for State-Based Reforms-which found that New York has a serious young adult unemployment crisis. We also looked closely at the state’s single largest investment to tackle this issue, the $50 million Urban Youth Jobs Program–a small dollar tax credit available to employers who hire disadvantaged young adults. We found that it does nothing to train disadvantaged young adults, and that employers would much rather have a skilled worker than a stand alone small dollar tax credit. To learn more, see our one-pager below:
WE GOT THE ATTENTION OF THE STATE LEGISLATURE….
The alarm is working, keep sounding it! Youth unemployment and the Urban Youth Jobs Program were all the buzz at the Joint Legislative Human Services Budget Hearing in Albany on February 8th. Legislators had lots of questions for the Department of Labor about how effective the program is in tackling high young adult unemployment.
This is most likely because the program has undergone significant changes since 2012 and has become an annual $50 million program with zero evidence suggesting the program is actually working. What’s more, the required annual reports that are mandated to be submitted to the legislature for their oversight are missing. This year the Governor’s Executive Budget is proposing to authorize another $50 million a year for five years.
Watch Assemblyman Harry Bronson (D-Rochester) ask the New York State Department of Labor a few important questions and offer up a solution that makes sense to us:
Assemblyman Bronson’s recommendation to repurpose unused dollars dedicated to the Urban Youth Jobs Program to fund the Empire State Apprenticeship Program (ESAP) is also a top solution Young Invincibles recommends in our latest report. ESAP would allow employers in growing sectors to claim tax credits that would help offset the costs associated with training an apprentice for three years. A key difference between the two programs is that–unlike the Urban Youth Jobs Program–the Empire State Apprenticeship Program not only trains disadvantaged young adults in growing sectors but connects them to long-term careers that pay well further helping fill the state’s skills gap. Check out our Legislative Memo of Support here.
BUT WE NEED YOUR HELP!
Your legislators need to hear from you ASAP! Over the next few weeks state legislators will be debating priorities for this year’s state budget due on April 1st and it’s critical they hear from you! Join Young Invincibles in urging them to invest in strategies like the Empire State Apprenticeship Program that invest in developing the skills of disadvantaged young adults.
Click here to send a letter to your state legislative representatives urging them to support the Empire State Apprenticeship Program as a first step to tackling New York’s alarmingly high young adult unemployment rate. TAKE ACTION!
Read some of the unanswered questions by Assemblyman Bronson and other members of the Legislature.
Assemblyman Bronson had some good questions about the Urban Youth Jobs Program that we are also looking to find answers on. His questions include:
- What is the age breakdown of the youth who have been employed under the program?
- What is the average length of time someone is employed and how many of these jobs are seasonal?
- Can we have access to the mandated annual reports, which don’t seem to be available and haven’t been accessible to the public?
- Given how research from Young Invincibles tells us that employers are more interested in having a trained workforce might it not be a good opportunity for us to use some of those tax credit dollars to hire those young people as apprentices?
Assemblyman Bronson wasn’t the only member of the state legislature to have important questions about the Urban Youth Jobs Program that need answering.
Assemblywoman Jaffee asked how many youth participated in the program since its inception? What type of jobs does the program generate? Are there any numbers to understand how many youth maintained employment in the second year benefit?
Senator Montgomery asked what are the corporations that are actually participating in the program, how many youth are participating, what percent of the funding goes to the areas where there is the highest need, and where across the state is the program most used?
Senator Persuad asked do you have any evidence as to how many youth have been advanced through this program? How many youth have come from where they were at the poverty level to out of poverty? Do you have any data showing if young adults remain employed after the tax credit expires?
Senator Krueger asked the difference between the Minimum Wage Reimbursement Tax Credit (MWRC) subsidy program and the Urban Youth Jobs Program as both cost the state the same amount of money and are designed to serve a similar demographic? What industries are using that credit? For both programs that require missing annual reports for both programs, what’s working, are young adults continuing to keep jobs after the credit is used up, and are these tax credits just a way for some companies to figure out how to use the tax dollar to pay for wages they would have used anyway such as fast food companies?