Thousands of students are at risk of losing their education program as federal stimulus funding comes to an end in June.

New York City’s Learning to Work program helps thousands of students deemed at risk of dropping out. But after June 30, $32 million of its $40 million budget will be gone as federal stimulus money runs out.

New York City Mayor Eric Adams hasn’t announced where they will fill the gap in the budget once the federal money is gone, but it’s one of many programs across the country that remain at risk after the federal government has ended its relief payments to states.

Today, the program serves 16,000 students at 66 second-chance and transfer schools and 19 young adult borough centers. These students tend to be those who have fallen behind on the credits necessary to graduate or have criminal records in their past. Many are also homeless.

Eric Adams
New York City Mayor Eric Adams attends a memorial for the 30th anniversary of the killing of teenager Ari Halberstam on the Brooklyn Bridge on March 01, 2024, in New York City. Adams is facing…


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Inside the schools, students get access to specialized small classes and attendance outreach alongside youth and family counseling. They also have extra support for post-graduate planning and internships.

“This program needs immediate attention. But we haven’t heard anything from the Department of Education about our funding other than, ‘We don’t know,'” Michael De Vito, executive director of the New York Center for Interpersonal Development, told the New York Post.

De Vito also said the city has been focused on other issues, including the ongoing migrant crisis in city borders.

“It’s becoming political. We don’t want to be political. We want our young people taken care of,” De Vito said.

Altogether, New York City Public Schools received $7 billion-plus in federal stimulus money and putting it towards the Learning to Work program initially made sense because of how much the city lost in tax revenues at the time, De Vito said.

“That saved us,” De Vito said but added now the city has no plan for the lost funding.

“Creating and deepening career pathway opportunities for young people is of the utmost importance for New York City Public Schools. While no final decisions have been made, we are engaging with Learning to Work providers as we plan for next year and beyond and recognize the importance of this impactful programming for our city’s young people,” Department of Education spokesperson Chyann Tull said in a statement to the New York Post.

On February 9, De Vito reached out to Senator Jessica Scarcella-Spanton in a letter asking for a way to ensure the “life-saving” program survives.

“We keep our kids out of jail, supporting them as they surf couches, sit with them in emergency rooms, making sure they have food to eat and clothes on their backs,” De Vito said.

Those who work internships under the program are nine times more likely to graduate, he added, and the public schools often just don’t measure up.

Ahead of the June 30 deadline, the city faces an 80 percent gap in funding.

“The $32 million fiscal cliff this program faces with the loss of temporary federal aid is nothing short of catastrophic,” finance expert Michael Ryan, the founder of michaelryanmoney.com, told Newsweek. “Far too many noble social initiatives have fallen victim to over-reliance on temporary government funds and a lack of sustainable contingency planning.”

Ryan said the loss of counseling and internships will likely have a direct impact on rising dropout rates and lost economic opportunities.

“As a society, we simply cannot afford to leave these young people behind,” Ryan said. “Generations of students are counting on us to get this right. The time to act is now, before it’s too late.”