Statement from Councilmember Silverman on Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program Final Audit Report

At-Large D.C. Councilmember Elissa Silverman, chair of the Committee on Labor and Workforce Development, today released the following statement after the Office of the D.C. Auditor released its final audit of the Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program (MBSYEP):

“The Marion S. Barry Summer Youth Employment Program is one of the District’s most beloved and well-known programs, and we want to maximize the opportunity it gives our young people. For many in the District, MBSYEP gave them their first job—and first encounter with the world of work. We want it to be a formative experience that imbues our young people with the life skills needed to be productive workers and lifelong learners – and helps put them on a career pathway.

MBSYEP has a sizable mission, and it is one of the largest expenditures we make as a government on workforce development. That’s why I asked the auditor to take a close look at the program, and today’s report is the last of a four-part series examining summer youth employment. I thank D.C. Auditor Kathy Patterson and her audit team for their comprehensive analysis and recommendations to improve the program and its outcomes. We want to make sure the program is managed well and works well for all our participants, including both our young workers and our employer partners.

The auditor’s findings and recommendations will inform our upcoming April 3 hearing which will focus on strategies to improve employment outcomes for District youth. Last Wednesday at my committee oversight hearing on the Department of Employment Services, we heard that youth understand the value of the six weeks of job experience that MBSYEP offers. We also heard that they want—and need—more opportunities to continue building professional skills and exploring career options during the remaining 46 weeks of the year. We can use MBSYEP as a building block for that bigger youth workforce system.

I look forward to continuing to work with our workforce partners across District government, at nonprofits, and within the private-sector to make sure our young people are well-equipped to succeed professionally.”