Yesterday was further proof that the Center for an Urban Future is having extraordinary success in helping to set the policy agenda on critical economic and workforce development issues in New York. Mayor Bloomberg delivered his State of the City speech yesterday afternoon, and several of his new policy proposals—on subjects ranging from immigrant entrepreneurs and summer youth job programs to the innovation economy—were heavily influenced by our work.
The Center has published two reports (Summer Help and More Help Needed) documenting the importance of the city's Summer Youth Employment Program as well as the funding gaps that have resulted in tens of thousands of New York City teens being turned away from the program. Our work has argued for expanding the program to serve more teens for two critical reasons: 1) New York City has among the highest youth unemployment rate in the nation and 2) research shows that those who get into the habit of working as a teen are statistically much more likely to keep doing so into adulthood. Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg used similar language in announcing a plan to expand the program with private funds, saying: "We also know that summer jobs lead to high school graduation and college, and so this year, we'll make up for cuts in Federal funding to summer youth employment by raising private money that will put thousands of young New Yorkers into jobs that can change their lives forever."