Every day in our neighborhoods, you and I see talented young people with so much promise, hanging out on street corners, wasting their time, with little to do and nowhere to go. The Community Service Society (CSS) estimates that there are as many as 200,000 New Yorkers between the ages of 16 and 24 who have both failed to graduate from high school and are not gainfully employed. They are disconnected from society, community and family.
As a City, we can no longer afford to ignore the challenges they face. We have a responsibility to reach out to our youth, and help them reach their full potential by guiding them down the path to opportunity.
Historically, the “Youth Corps” Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) has been effective in providing young adults with the skills, experience and hope they need to build a better future for themselves.
Through his actions, it is clear that Mayor Bloomberg is too focused on Wall Street to understand what is happening on our streets. From his private jet, he doesn’t see what is happening in our neighborhoods. He doesn’t hear their cries for encouragement and support.
I am running for Mayor because, for too long, City government has ignored our youth’s issues and struggles. When I am Mayor, I will not turn my back on our young people. I understand their need for hope, and believe in their talent and promise. They can give so much back to their neighborhoods and it is time to have a Mayor who knows that when we invest in our youth, we invest in our futures.
As Mayor, I will adopt CSS’s recommendation to initiate a New York Job Corps program that would provide 5,000 unemployed, out of school youth with a subsidized job for one year.
I will revive our City’s support of Career and Technical Education through vocational high schools. These schools are more successful than other high schools in graduating students. Additionally, this curriculum will give our young people the skills they need to compete in our increasingly competitive global economy.
When I’m in City Hall, I will also create a Center for Youth Employment Opportunity, which will actively pursue partnerships with private companies to help train and employ our young people. These partnerships will give them the opportunity to obtain internships and apprenticeships, ensuring that they are able to compete in the 21st century economy.
Part of my plan is to appoint a Deputy Mayor for Youth who will be responsible for cutting through the bureaucracy so that our youth are no longer treated as statistics on a page, but as the future of our communities and city. I have dedicated my life to this effort because I want to give back to the city that has given so much to me.
Growing up as a young African American in Bedford Stuyvesant, Brooklyn during the Civil Rights era, I always knew I was lucky to have opportunities that my parents and grandparents never had. My generation was shaped by this tradition of activism and leadership, and I have a responsibility to ensure that our youth have newer and greater opportunities than me.
It is time to bring change to New York. It is time to ensure that our children are no longer forgotten. Join my campaign for change so that we can give our young people the opportunity to fulfill their promise.