“Fifth Day” Enrichment Workshops Recognized as a National Model
This past summer, the United States Conference of Mayors selected Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan and the City of Albany’s Youth and Workforce Services as a recipient of its 2016 Outstanding Achievement City Livability Award, one of just 10 cities receiving the award in its category nationwide. The City was selected for the creation of an enrichment series of professional and educational development for nearly 1,000 young people who work in the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). The award, made by an independent panel of judges, was announced at the U.S. Conference of Mayors 84th Annual Meeting. On a series of Fridays, SYEP provides students:
- A Financial Literacy Workshop with SEFCU;
- A College Campus Tour at the University at Albany;
- A Career Exploration Workshop at the New York State Museum; and
- A “Building Bridges: Know Your Rights” program in which Albany police officers and representatives from the Center for Law and Justice educate young people about their legal rights when they interact with police.
“This is a community driven initiative,” said Albany Mayor Kathy M. Sheehan. “Based on input from parents, participants and community leaders, we overhauled the Summer Youth Employment Program to make sure Albany’s young men and women are exposed to the broad opportunities that are available to them as they plan for their futures.”
“Our young people have a great deal of talent, and our aim each year is to use the five weeks we have in SYEP to expose them to the working world and to train them to be strong employees,” said Jonathan Jones, Commissioner of Youth and Workforce Services for the City of Albany. “This Livability Award confirms that this youth-centered program, which benefits both our young people and employers who depend on their valuable contributions, is an innovative approach to improving the quality of life in our City.”
Community input was sought in 2014 to help design a program that would provide on-the-job work experiences and positive interactions in work environments that would help youth connect their education to career goals and pathways. The program employs Albany residents age 14 to 18 for five weeks beginning July 5. SYEP is designed to introduce youth to the working world, help identify career interests and foster good work habits, and provide youth with the opportunity to earn money for themselves and their families.