Summer Freeze

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This year, New York City could lose two-thirds of the roughly 40,000 subsidized summer jobs for teenagers it offered last year. Big changes in federal jobs policy emphasize year-round work and jobs for teens who are out of school, draining much of the limited pool of federal cash away from summer employment.

The governor is also allowed to skim off 15 percent of the federal funds for any jobs-related use he wants, including simply using the money to keep his state offices running. And so far, the state and the city haven’t promised to come up with any new cash for summer jobs.

Predictably, the change will hit hardest in poor neighborhoods. The chart above, drawn from numbers gathered by United Neighborhood Houses, makes it clear: While communities like Bay Ridge and Forest Hills only had a few score of these jobs last summer, Morningside Heights, Bedford-Stuyvesant and East New York rely heavily on these subsidies.

“Some neighborhoods could be losing a million or two million dollars worth of income that would certainly be spent locally,” points out UNH’s Doug Turetsky. “What other opportunities will these kids have to work?”

It’s not just the poorest districts; even some of the city’s better-off neighborhoods put a lot of kids to work through these programs. Borough Park, for example, had 823 summer youth jobs last year; Jackson Heights had 778, and Greenpoint and Williamsburg had 1,897. UNH is now pushing the state and city governments to replace the lost federal funding.