Among the influx of vulnerable Ukrainian refugees being welcomed and resettled through the Marks JCH, is a large number of young adults. Like families, they arrive in crisis, with nothing, but they also are alone, without parents or other family members. More than several hundred of the Ukrainian refugees welcomed by the Marks JCH in the past 15+ months have been those between the ages of 16-24.
Through the generosity of our partners at UJA Federation of New York and Robin Hood, Marks JCH launched services to bolster the career trajectories of young Ukrainians. These innovative models provide cohort based vocational trainings, apprenticeship and internship opportunities, exploration of pathways for higher education in addition to providing comprehensive wrap around supports (supportive counselling, benefits enrollments, adult literacy and emergency cash support.) In addition, our newly developed partnership with Repair The World, offers an immersive educational program centered around Jewish values followed by an internship serving vulnerable populations: Holocaust Survivors, homebound seniors, food insecure clients and refugee youth. Through this fellowship, young Ukrainians have found not only purpose and a way to give back during a time of loss and uncertainty but also a new community and peer group as they rebuild their lives in the US.
This model is one of several that yields our commitment in investing in young community members by building careers, educational pathways, and communal networks that will benefit them for decades to come.
Through another program, Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), which the Marks JCH has been leading for well over a decade, an additional 800 youth (ages 16-24 years old) this summer were placed into employment positions. SYEP participants are placed across sector industries including nonprofit, finance, retail, professional services, and healthcare. All youth participating in workforce initiatives receive stipends through the Marks JCH or wages covered by NYC for their employment. Many of our most vulnerable young adults have come to count on this infusion of income to support their studies and expenses during the year as families recover from resettlement, the rising costs of inflation and the hardships of the pandemic.