Mayoral candidate Malik Evans said that if he were elected, he would start a youth employment program within his first 100 days.
The program, which he said would need public and private investment, was part of a three-part youth development platform for his campaign.
The others were an expansion of teen court and training for all young people in peer mediation.
Evans made the announcement May 13 at a news conference at the Douglass Auditorium on King Street.
“One of the ways that communities are judged is by the way … they treat their young people,” Evans said, citing statistics about the number of teens who said they have been affected by violence. “And right now on that score, we are not going well with the numbers that are there. So I look forward to discussing these proposals in more detail as the months go along.”
Evans faces Mayor Lovely Warren in the Democratic primary on June 22. Evans also is on the Working Families Party line. Details of his platform are at malikevans.org.
Details of Warren’s platform are at mayorlovelywarren.com. Warren also released her agenda in the 2020-21 state of the city report.
Evans is former president of the Rochester City School District Board of Education and currently serves as chairman of the finance committee for City Council. He said jobs are crucial to helping young people stay away from violence. “It is important that we find meaningful opportunities for our young people. And that starts with employment.”
He said he wants the jobs to be year-round and that youth employment would help address Rochester’s continuing high rate of poverty and help prepare teens for full-time work after high school or be a resume-builder for college.
As for teen court and mediation, he said both could help reduce violence and recidivism. He said teen court now is mostly privately funded and needed government investment. He also said mediation teaches lifelong skills that can defuse conflicts.
Evans called the programs “front end investment … So it’s going to pay for itself because guess what, you’re going to see less levels of incarceration. You’re going to see more young people with what we call the 40 developmental assets, internal, external assets that they need in order to survive and thrive.”
He estimated the youth development package could cost about $5 million. Asked if he would take money from the Rochester Police Department to fund any youth initiatives, Evans said funds would come from multiple sources and listed federal COVID-19 stimulus money as well as from the city, county and state. He also said the private sector would have to step up. As an example for $15 an hour jobs, if the government paid $8, companies would be asked to pay $7.