Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Newark’s 2020 Summer Youth Employment Program launched this week. With some businesses still closed and social distancing guidelines still being enforced officials say this year’s program is taking a “Learn and Earn” model using technology to engage youth.

Under the model, young people will earn a weekly stipend for participating in a combination of college prep, financial literacy and career development webinars led by local leaders; self-guided work readiness training modules powered by LRNG and project-based learning.

“It is no surprise that summer in the City of Newark––like summer all across the country––is different this year,” said Mayor Ras Baraka. “The City of Newark’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) has made radical adjustments in order to remain viable and safe, because we understand that summer jobs are critical for young people to meet the economic and employment gaps that the COVID-19 pandemic has caused.”

This year, youth will be able to engage in banking online thanks to a new partnership with Mobility Capital Finance, Inc. (MoCaFi). MoCaFi is an African American-owned fintech serving people who exist in the economic margins as unbanked or underbanked.

“We are honored to be the first African American-owned fintech with which the City of Newark has partnered. Our collaboration will resolve some of the challenges the city has experienced in the past with ensuring the efficiency of payments for the program’s participants,” said Wole Coaxum, founder and CEO of MoCaFi. “Young people in Newark will have the opportunity to take advantage of all of the services offered on the MoCaFi platform, such as credit building, in addition to the direct deposit feature that the City will use to pay them.”

The Newark Summer Youth Employment Program is a collective effort with the commitment of numerous philanthropic supporters including the Alesio Family Foundation, AT&T, Bank of America, Capital One and the State of New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development. Support for the program totals $1.78 million.

“Summer jobs are more than temporary work––they are a chance to earn a paycheck, explore a new career, enter the financial mainstream, and take steps towards a stronger financial future,” Baraka said.