LaGuardia Launches 36th Year of Summer Youth Employment Program

LaGuardia SYEP hopes to serve 3,500 New Yorkers ages 14-24; Applications due March 1

Students in the Atrium playing Chess

LONG ISLAND CITY, NY (February 9, 2024) — LaGuardia Community College/CUNY expects to serve 3,500 New Yorkers ages 14–24 in the 2024 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). This marks the 36th year of SYEP at LaGuardia, which has given more than 200,000 participants opportunities for career exploration and paid work experience, since 1988. SYEP, sponsored by the New York City Department of Youth & Community Development (DYCD), is the nation’s largest youth employment program, with providers in all five boroughs—LaGuardia’s SYEP is the largest in Queens.

“I’m enormously proud of the impact that the Summer Youth Employment Program at LaGuardia has had on the lives and careers of the people we’ve served,” said Claudia Baldonedo, Ed.D., executive director of LaGuardia’s Youth Workforce Development Initiatives under which SYEP is housed. “We have given many young people their first-ever job and boosted their self-confidence. By opening a young person’s mind to possibilities—from introducing someone to a career they didn’t previously know about or helping them see themselves developing a career in an area they previously thought was closed to them—I’ve seen our program have a dramatic impact.”

Emely Naxi, 17, is an example of a young person whose educational and professional career plans have been shaped by SYEP. The Jackson Heights resident joined SYEP in the summer of 2022 as a rising junior at Middle College High School. She was placed in an internship with a web startup. That fall, she joined SYEP’s CareerREADY Work, Learn & Grow, a program that connects 16–19-year-olds who previously participated in SYEP with paid internships during the school year. The several internships she has had with local companies through the program helped her determine that she wants a career in finance. “I like dealing with numbers,” said Emely, who is currently interning with Edible Arrangements. This fall she plans to begin pursuing a bachelor’s in accounting at Baruch College, after graduating from Middle College with a dual high school diploma and associate degree in Liberal Arts: Math & Science from LaGuardia.

Applications are currently being accepted for New Yorkers ages 14–24, for six weeks of work in the summer of 2024, from Monday, July 1 through Friday, August 16. SYEP is open to all eligible participants (ages 14-24) who reside in New York City. College students who live in NYC and attend college outside of the city are also eligible to participate. The deadline to apply is March 1, 2024. To participate in LaGuardia’s SYEP, select Research Foundation-LaGuardia Community College, as the provider.

An estimated 6,000 applicants are expected to apply for the 3,500 spots at LaGuardia’s SYEP this summer. Participants will be selected by random lotteries conducted by DYCD. Participants ages 16–24 will be placed in six-week paid summer internships with private companies or community-based organizations, including LaGuardia Community College, receiving $16.00/hr. for up to 25 hours each week, for a maximum of $2,400. Youth ages 14 and 15 will participate in project-based learning in a classroom on the LaGuardia campus and/or in a virtual setting. Topics may include chess, robotics, health & wellness, first-aid/CPR, and entrepreneurship. They will earn a $700 stipend for the entire six weeks.

Worksites for SYEP participants ages 16–24 on the LaGuardia campus are being sought. “Offices who host an SYEP intern often benefit from new perspectives the youth bring to their work. And there is no cost to the college—salaries are paid by the New York City Department of Youth & Community Development,” said Dr. Baldonedo. “The young person just needs support, guidance, leadership and mentoring.” LaGuardia leadership, faculty, and staff interested in being an SYEP worksite (with supervisor approval) should contact Samantha Perez at or (718) 482-5034. Questions can also be directed to Dr. Baldonedo at or (718) 482-5236.

LaGuardia runs additional SYEP programs for specific populations.

  • Emerging Leaders serves youth ages 14–24 who are homeless, living in shelters, in or have aged out of the foster care system, or were formerly incarcerated. The program aims to empower youth and help them navigate life’s challenges through project-based learning and paid internships.
  • SYEP CareerREADY serves students at International and Middle College High Schools in Long Island City, Queens, and at Chelsea Career and Technical Education High School in Manhattan.
  • CareerREADY Work, Learn & Grow serves 16–19-year-olds who previously participated in SYEP and are interested in paid internships during the school year.

Learn more about SYEP from the NYC Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD).

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LaGuardia Community College (LAGCC), a Hispanic-Serving Institution, located in Long Island City, Queens offers more than 50 degrees and certificates, and more than 65 continuing education programs to educate New Yorkers seeking new skills and careers. As an institution of the City University of New York (CUNY), the College reflects the legacy of our namesake, Fiorello H. LaGuardia, the former NYC mayor beloved for his advocacy of underserved populations. Since 1971, LaGuardia’s academic programs and support services have advanced the socioeconomic mobility of students while providing them with access to a high quality, affordable college education.


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