City Launches Efforts  to Help Young Adults Overcome Pandemic Challenges

City Launches Efforts to Help Young Adults Overcome Pandemic Challenges

Photo Courtesy of Ed Reed/Mayoral Photography Office

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By Forum Staff

Mayor Bill de Blasio recently announced a series of steps his administration is taking to support New York City youth and young adults – both current students and those who are out of school and unemployed – as they weather the effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Measures include a campaign with CUNY to engage 5,000 young adults to enroll in college this spring, as well as an initiative to connect more than 2,000 high school students with paid internships and opportunities to earn college credit.

Accompanying these announcements is a new report by the citywide Disconnected Youth Task Force, entitled “Connecting Our Future,” which focuses attention on New York City’s population of out-of-school/out-of-work 16- to 24-year-olds. Originally convened in 2019, the Task Force updated its original analysis to account for an expected spike in OSOW as a result of job
losses and educational disruptions in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. This report will serve as the City’s strategic plan to serve this population.

The first set of initiatives announced last week focuses on re-engaging young adult New Yorkers who are neither enrolled in school nor working:

CUNY has launched a new Winter Bridge program to enroll 5,000 students from the NYC DOE Class of 2020 who had accepted an offer to CUNY but had yet to matriculate as of the Fall semester.  Current CUNY students will work as College Coaches, sharing their own experiences as college students, and providing support to help new students complete CUNY enrollment and financial aid processes.  Students in the Winter Bridge Program can enroll for spring 2021 in CUNY Start/Math Start and Accelerated Studies in Associate Programs.

In partnership with the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC and the NYC Center for Youth Employment, CUNY will launch a Welcome Back campaign to re-engage at least 600 students, including 100 former CUNY ASAP students majoring in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) fields whose enrollments lapsed in 2020, as well as 500 prospective students who were recently admitted into CUNY community college programs but never enrolled. Participants will receive intensive supports through admissions and re-enrollment processes, including financial aid, ongoing academic and career advisement, and STEM intensive programming with peers.

The Young Men’s Initiative will launch License to Careers, a new pre-apprenticeship initiative to train and place 50 recent high school graduates into career track positions within the transportation sector. This is a new model that will be studied for potential scaling and replication in other sectors of the New York City economy.

In partnership with DYCD, the Mayor’s Office will launch a new fellowship for OSOW young adults from Advance & Earn, a new training, education, and employment program launched in 2020 for youth between the ages of 16-24. The fellowship will recruit 15 fellows for a four-month work experience where they will hone policy, research, and advocacy skills. Fellows will survey and interview young adults in their communities to learn about the issues they are facing in their everyday lives.


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