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:

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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:

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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.

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?

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Young Invincibles Delivers Testimony at New York State Workforce Hearing

January 25, 2017
CONTACT: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org202-734-6510

[Albany, New York] — Today, Kevin Stump, Northeast Director of Young Invincibles, will deliver testimony at the New York State Legislative Workforce Budget Hearing. Please find his full testimony here. It underscores the critical need for training and skills development among New York’s disadvantaged young adult population. Young adults in New York age 16-24 face a stubbornly high unemployment rate of 15 percent. In particular, Kevin’s testimony focuses on the need to repurpose the Urban Youth Jobs Program–a flawed tax credit that does nothing to train up young adults and offer ways the state can better use that money.

Young Invincibles recently released a report examining the Urban Youth Jobs Program, state’s single largest youth jobs investment, demonstrating that the program does not meaningfully impact employer behavior. It also recommends how to reallocate funding to a number of other state programs, including apprenticeships. Please find the full report here: Sounding the Alarm: New York’s Young Adult Unemployment Crisis & The Need for State-Based Reforms.

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Young Invincibles Delivers Testimony at New York State Legislative Higher Education Hearing

January 24, 2017
CONTACT: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org202-734-6510

[Albany, New York] — Today, Kevin Stump, Northeast Director of Young Invincibles, delivered testimony at the New York State Legislative Higher Education Hearing. Please find his full testimony here. It highlights the need for policies that reach young people in New York with the least access and means for making it through the state’s higher education system. He discusses how current proposals in the FY-2018 plan, particularly the Excelsior Scholarship, show strong committment to higher education but currently exclude and penalize part-time, working, low-income students. Moreover, the Governor has not included any Maintenance of Effort funding to ensure institutions can maintain high quality education without being crushed by costs increases (like inflation or energy).

He also discusses shortfalls of New York’s Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) and urges the legislature to increase maximum TAP. The current FY-2018 budget proposes five more years of annual $250 tuition hikes and does not increase  TAP awards. It also force New York’s public universities to pay for the unfunded tuition credit mandate, which has cost CUNY more than $180 million since 2012.

In New York, student loan debt more than doubled during the last decade, growing to $82 billion from $39 billion, an increase of 112 percent with an average debt holder owing $32,200, $2,000 more than the national average. We are pleased that legislators on both sides of the aisle have a lot of questions around full-time criteria, part-time students, and contradictory tuition hikes.

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Young Invincibles’ Preliminary Response to Governor Cuomo’s FY-2018 Executive Budget

January 19, 2017
CONTACT: Sarah Schultz, sarah.schultz@younginvincibles.org, 202-734-6510

[New York] — On Tuesday night, New York State Governor Cuomo released his FY-2018 Executive Budget. To read Young Invincibles’ full analysis of the budget, please click here. Kevin Stump, Northeast Director of Young Invincibles, released the below statement in response:

  “Governor Cuomo just released the latest executive budget, which has the opportunity to direct much needed funding to programs that help young adult New Yorkers get the education and skills they so badly want and need to enter our state’s economy. With more than 15 percent of 16-to-24-year-olds unemployed and looking for work, this could translate to a potential loss of about $8.8 billion in earnings to New Yorkers over the course of the next decade–the stakes are too high to get it wrong.

The Governor is also proposing to double down on the state’s marquee youth employment program – the $50 million New York Youth Jobs small dollar tax credit for employers – despite evidence suggesting employers don’t find it effective and would rather see investments in training to skill up tomorrow’s workforce.

We are excited by the increased funding Governor Cuomo’s budget dedicates to supporting young adults, but see improvements that must be made to truly support this population in the longterm. The Governor’s plan to make college more affordable through the Excelsior Scholarship is laudable, but we have serious concerns with details of the current proposal that would exclude and penalize part-time, working, low-income students. Additionally the Governor’s budget proposes another five years of unaffordable annual $250 tuition hikes to SUNY and CUNY students who don’t qualify, and provides no “Maintenance of Effort” funding to ensure schools can keep up high quality programs.

We hope that these vital funding streams will continue to be bolstered but also be directed to those programs that provide quality opportunities for young people. With most jobs today requiring a post-secondary education, and with poverty and unemployment rates for young adults across the state remain high, it’s critical that the final budget deal invests in strategies we know work.”

To read Young Invincibles’ full analysis underscoring the unmet needs of young adult New Yorkers, especially SUNY and CUNY students and those entering the workforce, please click here: YI FY-2018 New York State Budget Analysis.

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