Change Lives: Sign up for SYEP!

For over 50 years, the City’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) has been a valuable source of job training, income, and education for young people living in NYCHA’s developments. In fact, many of our colleagues got their start with NYCHA through SYEP.

“As a 14-year-old growing up in Jefferson Houses, I obtained my first SYEP summer job at the community center there,” reminisced Community Coordinator Michael Jacocks, who has held a variety of positions in several departments over the past 34 years at NYCHA. “As a ‘SYEP counselor,’ I discovered that I loved helping people.” After traveling to far-off places and attending college in Japan, Mr. Jacocks decided to return to his “village” of Harlem and “serve the people of NYCHA.”

“The SYEP is the reason why I work at NYCHA now,” said Grant Houses Supervisor of Grounds Muhammad Watley. “Just 10 years later and now I’m supervisor of grounds!” (Read more about how Mr. Watley “paid it forward” for SYEP participants at his development here.)

This year, our Office of Resident Economic Empowerment and Sustainability (REES) will manage the SYEP program for NYCHA residents ages 14 to 15. Over 900 jobs will be available through a lottery system to qualifying teens. For six weeks, the participants will earn $13 an hour doing clerical, customer service, janitorial, and service learning support tasks for 15 hours per week. They will also take part in five hours of career exploration and development workshops each week.

Consider hiring a SYEP employee this year! In addition to providing invaluable job training, you will serve as a mentor and inspire participants’ personal and career growth. To register as a worksite, visit If you have questions, contact Lenese Vergara at or 718-218-1503.

“The Summer Youth Employment program holds a special place in my heart,” exclaimed LaToya Jordan, Writer in the Department of Communications. “It gave me my first experience working in an office environment. I worked at IBM, not too far from NYCHA’s central offices. At IBM, I did a number of administrative tasks, including data entry, answered phones, filed, made copies, and completed special projects. It wasn’t the tasks that have stayed with me all these years but being in an environment where adults mentored me and taught me the ins-and-outs of work, like navigating interpersonal relationships, taking responsibility for your tasks and pride in your work, and being professional.”

Summer Youth Employment Program


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