July 5, 2017

Mayor Ras J. Baraka Launches Expanded Unusual Summer Youth Employment Program

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Newark, NJ – July 3, 2017 – Mayor Ras J. Baraka, multiple local and national philanthropic supporters, representatives of the business and university community, and teen program participants launched the 2017 summer youth employment program today at a City Hall news conference.


The program is an experience that will broaden the horizons of young people and measure their progress. More than 2,700 youth are ready to report to job sites across Newark on July 10 through August 18th.  Newark’s innovative program has attracted national attention. It was chosen by the White House last year as one of only 16 Summer Impact Hubs and chosen to participate in the Citi Foundation and Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund’s Summer Jobs Connect. The public/private partnership is unusual in combining education in financial empowerment, exposure to college campuses and the workplace, and school enrichment programs.


“We have brought together Newark businesses, philanthropies, colleges and universities, financial institutions, the Newark Public Schools and the city to create a unique public/private partnership. This is about much more than giving kids a paycheck and keeping them off the street for the summer. We are preparing our youth for success in college and in the workplace. We teaching them life skills to help them achieve success in whatever career they choose,” said Mayor Baraka.


Under the leadership of Mayor Baraka, the size of the program has nearly tripled since he took office, moving from serving 1,000 youth in 2014 to 2,700 youth this summer.  This is made possible by a public-private partnership between the city and 17 corporate and philanthropic foundations. In total, over $1.3 million in private funds have been raised.  These funds, along with the city’s financial investment, have allowed the City of Newark to enroll a record number of youth in a program that has been expanded to not just offer youth a paycheck, but an experience that expands their horizons and provides them with intensive preparation for the world of work.


Funding partners that make this possible include JP Morgan Chase, the Foundation for Newark’s Future, the Victoria Foundation, Prudential, PSE&G, Horizon, the MCJ Amelior Foundation, the Citi Foundation in partnership with the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund, RWJ Barnabas Health, Bank of America, Santander, Wells Fargo, TD Bank, Maher Charitable Trust, Capital One, Edison Properties, and Altice.


The summer of 2017 ushers in upgrades that improve Summer Youth Employment Program on several fronts and build our capacity to serve more youth.  Through a new application process and online platform, the city is able capture the interests of youth and place them in jobs in industries and sectors where they hope to gain experience.  In partnership with community-based organizations across the city, all youth participants are receiving four hours of workplace readiness training prior to beginning their jobs.  Training is sequential by age so that youth who participate in the program over several years will reach critical benchmarks such as completing a resume, compiling employer recommendations, creating a college budget, etc.


Young people are also exposed to comprehensive financial literacy training.  Through partnerships with financial institutions and financial empowerment organizations, all participants are provided the opportunity to open a bank account, encouraged to utilize direct deposit, and coached on the creation of savings goals for the summer.  Participants are coached by program monitors assigned to them for the summer as well as Young Money Managers, young people who have received special training to coach their peers on the importance of banking and saving.


“Summer jobs are a crucial onramp to helping young people develop the workplace and money management skills that can help build a strong financial future,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation. “Our continued collaboration with Mayor Baraka and the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund will connect more Newark youth with a summer job experience.”


With support from our excellent employment and training partners, the program is also creating career pathways for older youth in sectors of interest.  For instance, Shop Rite of Newark has committed to hire or identify a position at another Shop Rite for participants who satisfactorily complete the six-week program.  An early childhood education cohort is being launched with funding from the Maher Charitable Foundation and training support from Programs for Parents that will prepare participants to work in a child care setting and put them on a path toward certification. 


Other content cohorts have been established in the program in areas such as coding and architecture and design at New Jersey Institute of Technology, sustainability and the environment, health care, and the path to college in partnership with Rutgers University – Newark and Newark City of Learning Collaborative (NCLC).  In fact, thanks to NCLC, the Newark Public Library, Pillar College, Bloomfield College, Essex County College, NJIT, Berkeley College, and Montclair State University, all participants will have access to a full-day session on college access and financial aid in each of Newark’s five wards with a culminating college fair.


Ultimately, the Summer Youth Employment Program will tie seamlessly into the City of Newark’s Hire. Buy. Live initiative by creating industry partnerships and content cohorts early so that young people will be on career pathways for the jobs of the future in Newark.  Early exposure to the work place and careers are critical to put our youth on a path to success.




Additional Partner Quotes


Citi Foundation


“Summer jobs are a crucial onramp to helping young people develop the workplace and money management skills that can help build a strong financial future,” said Brandee McHale, President of the Citi Foundation. “Our continued collaboration with Mayor Baraka and the Cities for Financial Empowerment Fund will connect more Newark youth with a summer job experience.”


Victoria Foundation


Positive youth development is a critical component to the social, emotional, and academic well-being of our young people, particularly in the summer when research shows it is critical to connect them to structured learning opportunities said Irene Cooper-Basch, Executive Officer of the Victoria Foundation.  There is no better way to develop our young people in the summer then to provide them with exposure to the workplace.  We are proud to be a long-time supporter of the City of Newark’s Summer Youth Employment Program and we are especially gratified to see the program’s growth under Mayor Baraka’s leadership.




"Prudential is proud to support the City of Newark's Summer Youth Employment Program,” said Shané Harris, vice president, corporate giving, Prudential Financial, Inc.  “A young person's first summer job can have a lasting impact on their life. Summer youth employment programs have shown improved outcomes for participants contributing to greater financial and social mobility in adulthood. At Prudential, our mission is to make financial security achievable for all and programs like these are the first step in making that happen."


RWJ Barnabas Health


“RWJBH is proud to once again be a major sponsor of and participant in The Newark Summer Youth Employment Program. Through our commitment to foster health promoting environments and conditions in all our communities, we envision a healthy community as one where all young people are able to explore viable career pathways and maximize their full potential,” stated Barry H. Ostrowsky, President and Chief Executive Officer of RWJBarnabas Health.  “We are honored to join with Newark Mayor Ras Baraka in his investment to youth workforce development.  Through their involvement in the workplace, young people in Newark will gain invaluable training towards promising careers and future employment.   RWJBarnabas Health is privileged to support this influential initiative.”






“PSEG is committed to supporting programs aligned with fostering a pathway to success for students, particularly in underserved communities,” said Ellen Lambert, PSEG Foundation President. “We look forward to working with the City of Newark and the Mayor to foster the success of the Summer Youth Employment and Leadership Program to help provide the necessary tools for career development, leadership and life skills.”


Bank of America


“Youth employment is an important factor in stabilizing our communities and investing in the future. Research indicates that teens who are gainfully employed have lower drop-out rates, are more likely to continue their education to pursue long-term career goals, and ultimately show an increase in lifetime earning potential. Bank of America is proud to support the Newark Summer Youth Employment Program and provide opportunities for productive summer engagement that can set Newark youth on a course towards economic self-sufficiency” said Bob Doherty, New Jersey market president.


JP Morgan Chase


“We must provide youth with the skills they need to succeed, and this starts by providing them with meaningful summer work. Newark’s Summer Youth Employment Program does just that by exposing more students to jobs that teach them the skills they need to find careers in growing industries later on,” Jennie Sparandara, Vice President, Global Philanthropy, JPMorgan Chase & Co.


Wells Fargo


“Wells Fargo is proud to continue this wonderful collaboration with the City of Newark to help create the future workforce and build leaders,” said Deborah Smith, a senior vice president at Wells Fargo Foundation. “The Newark Summer Youth Employment Program is important because it keeps students learning during summer months and provides them with financial education and job readiness skills. This all takes place in safe environments.”


“Through the program, we’ll reach more than 2,000 city teens, empowering them to become more self-sufficient and preparing them for world of employment,” she added.


TD Bank

"It is an honor to sponsor initiatives like the Summer Youth Employment Program that promote and encourage young people to be creative, develop innovative ideas and commit to serving their communities," said Nick Miceli, Market President, TD Bank. "We are happy to be a part of this initiative and to partner with organizations like the Newark Community Economic Development Corporation that value our commitment to empowering our community."

Altice USA


“Altice USA is a long-time member of the Newark business community and we are committed to supporting the City’s next generation of leaders through the Newark Summer Youth Employment Program,” said Lee Schroeder, senior vice president, government and public affairs, Altice USA. “As a leading telecommunications company focused on innovation, investment and technology, we applaud the Mayor for developing this program in partnership with the New Jersey Institute of Technology that will enable SYEP participants to attend specialized STEM-related classes.”