Published On: June 7, 20225.8 min read127 words

Opinion: Undocumented Youth Deserve Access to Summer Youth Employment


The Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) in New York City has been instrumental in the early career development of many individuals, including the author, Jason Autar. However, it excludes undocumented youth, leaving them without access to crucial workforce development skills. With an estimated 38,000 undocumented youth enrolled in NYC Department of Education schools, the program’s current structure perpetuates inequality and further divides the city. Autar proposes a simple yet effective solution: issuing prepaid gift cards instead of debit cards for SYEP participants. This change would ensure inclusivity and provide undocumented youth with the opportunity to enter the workforce and gain valuable skills. By adopting this approach, the program can align with its mission of alleviating poverty and empowering underserved communities.

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