Governor Cuomo is promising millions for jobs to keep kids off the streets and on a productive track.
"We have to get everyone, the business leaders, the labor community, the govt and we have to create jobs to get these kids off the street. NYS will pay 100% of the salary," said Governor Cuomo, during a press conference Tuesday.
Oneida County has been putting kids to work for decades, through their Summer Youth Employment Program. Still, some wind up in the headlines. Daryun Prescod showed up, neatly dressed, and did the job in 2015. He was shot in the leg in 2020, then went on to face serious charges a few months later, in Florida, including carjacking with a deady weapon. There were for shootings in Utica since Saturday, two of them fatal. In one, a 15-year-old is accused of the murder of a 14-year-old, who county officials say was signed up for a Summer Youth Employment Program job.
"It's what happens afterwards. That's always the case, you can only control so much of what we have in front of us," says County Executive, Anthony Picente, also pointing out that you can't help the ones who don't show up.
"There were times when we had over 1000 kids in the general summer youth program, now we're down to 3/400, says Picente. "If the kids aren't there to do it, what do you do?"
Picente says the vast majority of kids who do show up and work for SYEP are success stories.
"Number of shining examples of kids that end up going on to college, where maybe they weren't going to initially or didn't think they could, or, between college and working for local employers," says Picente.
Utica's police chief says the violence has become cyclical and hard to stop.
"I've been on this job now 33 1/2 years and what I'm seeing is the same people we had problems with with gun violence in the last generation, now it's been passed on to the new generations. Sad. Just can't seem to find their way out of it."
The county executive will sit down with youth bureau officials and decide how to best spend an increase in state funding.
"What else we can do with it and whether or not we also put it into other type of programming or other educational programs and try to keep them active on a year-round basis."