City teens will have fewer job options this summer, thanks to a combination of budget cuts and an unlikely foe: the increased minimum wage. While state budget cuts pose the greatest threat, the increased cost per job will yield 5,000 fewer jobs under the popular Summer Youth Employment Program this year. The program has shrunk in recent years; last year it gave part-time work to about 33,000 teens, compared to 38,000 in 2003. Budget negotiations could deepen the cuts. The governor’s proposed block grant for social services would pit state funding for the program, which subsidized about 10,000 jobs last year, against services such as child care and child protection. Meanwhile, at the city level, the mayor’s proposed funding for the program is $11.5 million less than last year—cutting out roughly 9,000 jobs. While the Council has vowed to restore the mayor’s cuts, the program’s budget currently stands at $12.2 million. That’s enough to employ just 10,000 teens, less than one-third of last year’s pool.
-T. McMillan