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New Report from Young Invincibles: New York State’s Top Strategy to Address Crisis-Level Youth Unemployment Doesn’t Match Employer or Young Worker Needs

December 19, 2016
Contact: Sarah Schultz,, 202-734-6510

New York — Today, the Northeast regional office of Young Invincibles, a young adult research and advocacy organization, has released a new report “Sounding the Alarm: New York’s Young Adult Unemployment Crisis & The Need for State-Based Reforms.” The report takes an in-depth look at the state’s single largest youth jobs investment–a tax credit through the Urban Youth Jobs Program –and demonstrates that the program does not meaningfully impact employer behavior. The report also outlines how to repurpose those resources to focus on evidence-based strategies that invest in developing the skills of young adults.

Youth unemployment among young New Yorkers ages 16-24 is at crisis-levels. Across the state, the unemployment rate for residents 35 years and older is four percent, compared to a 15 percent statewide average unemployment rate for young adults between the ages of 16 and 24.

Right now, the state’s largest investment to combat this issue is the Urban Youth Jobs Program (UYJP), which offers employers small dollar tax credits for hiring disadvantaged young adults. This tax credit currently represents a $50 million dollar annual appropriation from the state budget.

Through Young Invincibles’ original research on the program and extensive interviews with employers and key stakeholders, the report reveals that the UYJP is failing to provide young people, especially the most disadvantaged, with valuable training. Moreover, it shows that employers value having young adult workers who have skills over small dollar tax credits. Of the employers surveyed statewide, an overwhelming majority of 93 percent indicated that the kinds of tax credits provided through the UYJP do not impact their hiring decisions or retention.

“At a time when our economy demands some type of postsecondary credential to be a competitive and skilled worker, high young adult unemployment should be a major concern for state lawmakers” said Kevin Stump, author of the report and the Northeast Regional Director of Young Invincibles. “As a state, we need to stop continuing to spend precious development dollars on programs that are not shown to work, and should instead invest in strong evidence-based models. The future of our workforce and the financial security of young New Yorkers depend on it.”