Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo on Monday announced $5.5 million in new state funding for after-school and job training initiatives aimed at preventing the MS-13 gang from recruiting on Long Island.
The funding for programs that would divert at-risk youth from gang life is in addition to $16 million that had previously been announced for anti-gang efforts on Long Island as part of the 2018-19 state budget. The state had also allocated $2.5 million to other programs in Nassau and Suffolk counties through other initiatives.
“With these investments, New York is sending a message loud and clear that gang activity has no place in our communities,” Cuomo said in a news release. “By taking a holistic approach to the task of combatting gangs on Long Island, we can help protect our neighborhoods and provide opportunities to at-risk youth that will break the cycle of gang violence once and for all.”
The funding state agencies includes:
— $3 million aimed at providing young men and women with job training and career opportunities. The money, from the State Department of Labor, will go to local organizations.
— $2.25 million from the State Office of Children and Family Services to nonprofits, which will help youth return to their communities after a juvenile justice placement.
— $250,000 from the state’s Summer Youth Employment Program for summer jobs to youth from low-income families.
The state also announced Monday that the bidding process has opened for $2 million from the Empire State After-School Program grants for local nonprofits and high-need school districts in Nassau and Suffolk. The four-year grants let non-profits and school systems expand after-school programs, and the initiative is expected to create 1,250 new slots for Long Island children.
Samuel D. Roberts, Office of Temporary and nonprofits Assistance commissioner, said in a statement, “For low-income youth across the state, summer vacation is a great opportunity to counter financial disadvantage with enriching and constructive work experience that can help even the playing field for future success.” He added that the money “will target at-risk youth and young people who have been involved in the Juvenile Justice System in Nassau and Suffolk counties.”