The Erie County Department of Social Services is pleased to announce the 2021 Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP). 

The SYEP is an important platform to introduce youth into the workforce and help them acquire skills that can be used to improve school performance and help expand education and career goals. 

The SYEP is an eight-week program, serving youth between the ages of 14 and 20 years old. Youth participants accepted into the program participate 20 hours per week. Youth are paid through the SYEP community agency and compensated above the State minimum wage of $12.50 per hour.

The Buffalo Urban League and Catholic Charities are the program operators; connecting youth with the worksites to give youth an opportunity to gain a meaningful work experience during the summer. Worksites are located in community based organizations/businesses throughout Erie County. 

Participants work in a variety of occupational sectors, including:

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  • Arts and Recreation
  • Camp
  • Child Care
  • Community/Social Service
  • Educational Services
  • Financial Services
  • Food Service
  • Governmental Agency
  • Health Care/Medical
  • Hospitality/Tourism
  • Information Technology
  • Legal Services
  • Maintenance/Custodial
  • Manufacturing
  • Marketing/Public Relations
  • Media/Entertainment
  • Real Estate
  • Retail
  • Transportation

SYEP also provides workshops on job readiness, career exploration, financial literacy, and educational and skills training opportunities.

Program slots are limited and placement in the program is not guaranteed. Placement will be based on youth circumstances and household income. 


The deadline for youth and worksite applications has been extended to June 30, 2021.


The Erie County Summer Youth Employment Program is committed to diversity, inclusion and equal opportunity. It is our policy to provide equal employment opportunity in every aspect of employment to all youth without regard to age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, marital status or domestic violence victim's status and other basis protected by New York State and Federal Laws. 


Please be advised that this program is contingent upon availability of NYS funds appropriated for SYEP. 

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Financial assistance provided through Gun Violence Reduction to SYEP: The Office of Temporary and Disability Assistance (OTDA) has allocated $530,000 in additional funding to the Erie County Department of Social Services to supplement the 2021 Summer Youth Employment Program, as part of NYS Governor Cuomo's comprehensive, multi-agency campaign to reduce gun violence. These additional funds are designated to be used in the City of Buffalo to support additional summer jobs for youth between 14-24 years of age who reside in households with income at or below 200 percent of the federal poverty guidelines. 

Recruitment efforts for this targeted initiative will be focused on youth residing in the following zip codes: 14201, 14202, 14206, 14207, 14209, 14210, 14212, 14215, 14216 and 14222. 

The ECDSS Comprehensive Employment Division in collaboration with Buffalo Urban League will work with the local SNUG (Should Never USe Guns) organization and community based gun violence prevention programs to identify youth for this expanded initiative. NY SNUG is run through New York's Department of Criminal Justice Services and is implemented in nine statewide counties, including Erie. 

Participation in summer jobs has proven to reduce the likelihood of involvement in violence. A meaningful work experience can provide lower-income youth with needed income and also help them acquire job skills and prepare for futuure employment and/or improve school performance.

Youth accepted into the program will work up to 25 hours per week for up to 15 weeks and will earn $15 per hour.