Today, the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), in partnership with its nonprofit partner, New Yorkers For Children, announced paid summer internship programs for youth in the City’s foster care and juvenile justice systems. Made possible thanks to $400,000 in grant funding from poverty-fighting organization Robin Hood, the programs will provide vulnerable young people with valuable work experience and income during this challenging time.
Summer employment opportunities are critical to advancing positive outcomes among youth in foster care and/or involved in the juvenile justice system. These programs provide valuable work experience to a population that has historically faced many challenges in obtaining and maintaining employment, as well as income that helps support themselves and their families. While the need for such opportunities has been made all the greater by the COVID pandemic, access to them, due to social distancing and other economic issues, has been severely impaired.
Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit New York City in mid-March, ACS – through its dedicated Office of Education and Employment Initiatives – has been working hard to identify alternatives to ensure that employment and workforce development-related needs of youth in the foster care and juvenile justice system are still being met. The summer programs being announced today are just some of the many examples of the critical support that ACS is providing to older youth during the pandemic.
“ACS remains committed to promoting employment opportunities and improving outcomes for youth in care, especially in the midst of this challenging time. With the economic ramifications of COVID-19, these summer programs will provide some of the City’s most vulnerable young people with income and valuable work experience which will hold them in good stead for the future. I want to thank Robin Hood for its generosity and New Yorkers For Children for helping to administer these critical programs,” said ACS Commissioner David A. Hansell.
“New Yorkers For Children is immensely grateful to Robin Hood for supporting a virtual summer internship program. This could not come at a better time. Given the challenging environment we find ourselves in, it is critical to provide youth in foster care and those involved with juvenile justice not only with career development opportunities but also a way to bring in much needed income. So many of our youth have lost their jobs as a result of the pandemic and have faced undue financial hardships. New Yorkers For Children is thrilled to partner with ACS on this program and we look forward to offering youth portable credentials, quality internship placements and stipends to help offset their time and effort,” said Saroya Friedman-Gonzalez, ED of New Yorkers For Children.
“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to expose the disparities and vulnerabilities many people we serve confront every day, especially our youth in the foster care and juvenile justice systems whom are disproportionately Black and Latinx,” said Wes Moore, CEO of Robin Hood. “It is critical that we stand alongside these young New Yorkers and ensure an opportunity for each to not only earn a paycheck and gain work experience, but to be seen with dignity and valued for their humanity.”
With $400,000 in funds from Robin Hood, ACS is implementing multiple summer programs for ACS-involved youth:
First, the “Virtual Summer Internship Program” is intended for youth in the foster care system or transitioning out of the juvenile justice system (ages 18-24), all of whom are either currently attending or about to enter college. 100 young people will have the opportunity to participate in the program. Each intern will be engaged in 35 hours per week of programming and work tasks and receive a stipend of $2,800.
Typically, the summer internship program is offered in-person, however, due to the pandemic, this year’s program will be conducted entirely online. Youth will be interning in various departments across ACS, at foster care agencies and at New Yorkers For Children, working in finance, administration, programming, policy and planning, among other areas. Interns will also be able to acquire certifications in demand by many employers who are currently hiring for essential positions such as security guards and positions with OSHA-certification requirements. Interns will also participate in a career and college planning club, G-Suite and Microsoft application training, Peer Educator Certifications, networking events with professionals and employers, and public speaking workshops.
Second, multiple summer enrichment programs will be available to youth in secure detention:
- An Internship Program in which approximately 30 youth will earn $500 stipends and learn a variety of skills including: horticulture by gardening, barista skills by running an on-site café, and more.
- A Summer Mural Project in which youth will work alongside individuals fromCarnegie Hall, in partnership with Groundswell Project, to create murals inside Crossroads Juvenile Detention Center. Approximately 20 youth will earn $400 stipends.
- A Summer Enrichment Program, known as Freedom School, in which youth will earn $550 stipends upon completion. Freedom School is a summer literacy and cultural enrichment program designed to serve children and youth in communities where quality academic enrichment programming is limited or inaccessible.
The paid summer programs, being announced today, are just some of the ways in which ACS is working to support older youth in care and connect them with jobs, internships, and work-force related experiences.