City Limits reported that the City of New York will offer a work-readiness training program this summer specifically aimed at undocumented youth. The initiative is in response to calls from advocates and lawmakers for an alternative to the Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), which is not open to undocumented students. The program was quietly piloted last year by the New York City Education Department (DOE) in partnership with the Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD). It provided internships and work-based learning opportunities for students aged 14-21 who had difficulty finding traditional internships due to various reasons, including immigration status.
The pilot program, offered to all students facing challenges in securing internships, not only undocumented youth, implemented recommendations from advocates and lawmakers. The program provided stipends rather than paychecks and focused on enrichment and work-based learning. Students between 14 and 21 years old who attended CareerReady schools were eligible for the program. Six community-based organizations worked with these schools to host the qualified participants, offering project-based learning and advanced work-readiness training for a maximum of 60 hours. The program enrolled 282 young people last year, and DYCD plans to continue and expand the program in the summer of 2023, aiming to reach 600 students.
In addition to the city program, other local community organizations also provide internships accessible to or designed for undocumented young people. Oyate Group, in partnership with the Center for Community Engaged Learning at Fordham University, hosted the Beyond Rising Internship last year, welcoming 20 undocumented high school students. This year, the program has tripled its slots to accommodate 60 students, half of whom will go to Fordham University and the other half to Lehman College. The program will run from July 6 to August 1, providing weekly $500 gift card stipends to students. The application period for the Beyond Rising Internship is open until the end of March.