NYEC has been working to gather grassroots comments and experiences on how they are best adapting and responding to the outbreak of COVID-19. Through a series of community check-ins, our Community Response Form and conversations with national coalitions NYEC has gathered common themes below that have come to the forefront. This page will be updated as more recommendations and needs are gathered from organizations, youth leaders, and communities.
- Many organizations are working to put their job-readiness curriculum, case management supports and programming online, through virtual platforms. The shift has been smoother for programs that already had blended models. For organizations who relied exclusively on an in-person model the sudden transition has proven to be difficult with some organizations quickly trying to find new platforms and trying to get organized.
- Many work experiences, supports and curriculums have difficulty being converted to online versus being in-person. More attention will have to be dedicated in order to keep the experiences “engaging.”
- Programs with a culture of and experience with interacting with young people over text and social media are having an easier transition. Others are struggling with bureaucratic hurdles to communicating with youth on new platforms.
- Clients don’t have access to broadband internet.
- Need for DOL guidance on using WIOA funds for supportive service dollars to purchase technology, internet, etc. to help out-of-school youth transitioning to virtual service.
- Many programs are struggling with utilizing and getting electronic signatures approved to verify identification and documentation of youth.
- Reducing the number of vital documents to verify youth would be appreciated.
Summer Youth Employment Programs (SYEP)
- Many programs are concerned about cancellations of SYEP and/or the potential lack of slots for SYEP jobs and opportunities. Teleworking opportunities for youth may be limited especially if cities are under in-person restrictions.
- Aligning SYEP with academic credit recovery would help youth stay engaged over the summer and help in the case that SYEP programs shut down.
- There is a concern over the quality of first-job experiences if the job is done online versus in-person.
Transitional Jobs Program
- A transitional jobs (TJ) program would be helpful for youth trying to get reconnected to the labor force as well as youth who will be laid off in the case of an economic downturn.
- A TJ program would help circumvent the challenge of businesses not hiring youth permanently in the event of a recession.
- New pathways in healthcare should be developed as there will be potentially increased momentum once the outbreak of COVID-19 subsides.
- Programs in natural-disaster prone areas (e.g. hurricanes, evacuations, etc.) already had plans ready to communicate with youth, manage connections with funders and providers and gather and disseminate data where needed.
- There is a concern over whether WIOA or funder required performance measures and outcomes can be loosened during the outbreak as programs adapt to unforeseen circumstances.