Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed a bill creating "NY Youth Works," an inner city youth employment program that will combat high unemployment in the state's metro areas. The new law includes $25 million in tax credits for businesses that hire unemployed and disadvantaged youth and $62 million to support job training programs. The Governor was joined by his colleagues from the Legislature at a bill signing ceremony held at Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York in Brooklyn.
"We are giving young adults in our cities the skills and the opportunity to build a career," Governor Cuomo said. "With four out of every ten inner city young adults looking for work, our state faces an unemployment crisis within an unemployment crisis that needs to be immediately addressed. Through the NY Youth Works program, we are putting our young people on a career path and preventing a cycle of poverty. This program represents not only an investment in our youth, but an investment in the collective future of our state."
The NY Youth Works program provides $25 million in tax credits to benefit employers that hire unemployed youth over the first six months of 2012, with the ultimate goal of permanent, unsubsidized employment.
NY Youth Works will function in three phases:
* Phase 1: For up to six weeks before a youth is placed in employment, youth providers, like not-for-profits and workforce investment boards, will prepare eligible youth with skills such as work readiness, occupational training, and digital literacy.
* Phase 2: Businesses will be offered a $3,000 wage subsidy in the form of tax credits to hire disadvantaged youths for six months. Preference will be given to employers in demand industries such as clean energy, healthcare, advanced manufacturing, and conservation. Priority will be given to employers that provide on-site occupational skills training during this period. During Phase 1 and Phase 2, participating youth will be provided with up to three monthly stipends of $300 to cover costs associated with transitioning into the workplace.
* Phase 3: An additional $1,000 tax credit will be available to employers that retain the participating youths for an additional six months.
Under the new law, $62 million in funding will be provided to critical job training and support programs for inner city youth, including basic education programs, summer youth employment, job search and placement initiatives, and child care.
Eligible participants for the jobs program include unemployed, low-income youth aged 16 through 24 who are located in one of the following areas: Albany, Brookhaven, Buffalo, Hempstead, Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, New York City, Rochester, Schenectady, Syracuse, Utica, and Yonkers.
Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said, "While Washington is paralyzed by gridlock, we have worked together in New York to advance a plan that instills fairness in our tax code, stimulates New York's economy, and creates jobs. The Assembly Majority has made it a priority to fight for and fund jobs programs for inner city young people because unemployment among our youth is unacceptably high. That is why I am so pleased that, with the strong leadership of Governor Cuomo, we were able to include the Inner City Youth Employment Program and tax credit in the larger agreement to cut taxes on working families and create jobs. This is not only about unemployment and the economy, it's also about our children. I am confident our efforts will go far in helping young New Yorkers find good paying jobs and keep them."
New York State Senator John L. Sampson said, "The most worthwhile investments we can make in government are investments in our youth -- the future workforce that will carry on this state's legacy of economic vitality and innovation. I'd like to applaud Governor Cuomo for his leadership on this progressive legislation and his strong commitment to an urban agenda. This legislation -- including a business tax credit for employers -- will ensure that more young people in inner city communities gain useful skills and embark on fulfilling careers. Statistics show that finding employment at a young age helps ensure long term professional success. This legislation sends the right message that we will not ignore the needs of young people in communities that are often overlooked."
New York State Assemblyman Karim Camara said, "Unemployment among New York youth is at a record high, especially among inner city minority youth. During these difficult times, it is up to government to take the lead in stimulating the economy and creating jobs. Working with Governor Cuomo and my colleagues in the Legislature, we have developed a series of initiatives to help New Yorkers get back on their feet. I am confident that the NY Youth Works program will go far in helping young New Yorkers secure brighter futures. I encourage businesses to take advantage of these incentives, and I thank Governor Cuomo for his hard work."
President of Medgar Evers College of The City University of New York Dr. William Pollard said, "Governor Cuomo's job initiative underscores what he has repeatedly emphasized in his remarks about our state economy -- there is nothing New Yorkers need more than jobs, jobs, jobs. We believe that in urban communities like Central Brooklyn, an impactful inner-city youth employment program can create real momentum and stabilization for the local economy. In turn our young people, who have struggled so noticeably in finding meaningful employment and opportunity, can help drive economic growth and local competitiveness. Governor Cuomo's NY Youth Works program is welcome news for both businesses and young job seekers and I applaud the Governor for making the future of our inner-city youth a priority and legislative focus."
Even in a robust economy, younger workers have higher levels of unemployment than those aged 35 and older. Recent unemployment levels have escalated to all-time highs as a result of the prolonged economic downturn of the past few years. According to the Department of Labor, unemployment among the state's youth is more than 25 percent, with minority youth facing unemployment rates of up to 40 percent.
The new inner city youth employment program and tax credit is part of Governor Cuomo's comprehensive New York Works Agenda, which was passed by the Legislature earlier this week. The New York Works Agenda will create thousands of jobs and grow the state's economy with investments in New York's infrastructure, a new fair tax reform plan that achieves the first major restructuring of the tax code in decades, a tax cut for 4.4 million middle class New Yorkers, additional relief for areas devastated by recent floods, and a reduction of the MTA payroll tax to provide relief for small businesses.