LBPR: Youth Employment Programs

The Library of Best Practices Research (LBPR) was created while I worked at Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative. This is designed to be a tool for grant-writers. Each of the LBPR documents supports a grant application for a particular program and theory of change. The original version of this document can be found on DSNI's GitHub page.

My summary text (the material in bold) is available for you to use in any way you like. The quoted text should be cited appropriately.

If you have suggestions for future topics that should be included in the LBPR, please let me know!

Evidence to Support a Youth Employment Program

Youth work less now than they did previously

Young Americans have suffered the most from the recent recession. The unemployment rate for youths aged 16 to 24 remained at 16.2% in 2013, more than double the national unemployment rate (Steinberg, 2013).

This is especially a problem in Massachusetts

Employment among teens in Massachusetts has dropped by nearly half since the late 1990s, greater than the decline in teen employment in the U.S. (Commonwealth Corporation, 2014)

And disproportionately affects young people of color

“While the overall unemployment rate for teenagers is 25.1 percent, the unemployment rate for black teens is 43.1 percent. And fully half of black males ages 16–19 are looking for work but unable to find a job.”(Steinberg, 2013)

And low-income youths without a high school diploma

For low-income, African-American youths who have dropped out of high school, the employment rate is 5% (Sum, 2013)

Youths are being removed from some of the sectors traditionally known for providing family-supporting wages to workers without post-secondary degrees

In many sectors, the number of teens has reduced by 50-90%. These include manufacturing, construction, utilities and transportation (Sum, 2013).

Youth who work are less likely to be engaged in violent crime

Youth who were engaged in a summer employment program were about 43% less likely to be arrested for a violent crime after participating in the program. Most of the effect came after the end of the 8-week program. Almost all of the participants in this summer jobs program were African-American and living in conditions of poverty. Their average age was 16 (Ingmire, 2014).

People who work as youths are more likely to be employed as adults

Education and previous work experience were strongly associated with employment (Sum et al., 2014)

And have higher earnings

Students who work 20 hours or less a week in high school have 22 percent greater annual earnings later in their career than those who do not. (Commonwealth Corporation, 2014)

Youths who work are more likely to engage in post-secondary education

Students who have longer duration, low-intensity (fewer than 20 hours per week) employment experiences during school are also more likely to earn a bachelor’s degree than students who do not work (Ingmire, 2014).

Commonwealth Corporation. (2014). Understanding and addressing the youth employment crisis. Boston, MA: Commonwealth Corporation.

Ingmire, J. (2014). Chicago summer jobs program for high school students dramatically reduces youth violence. UChicago News.

Steinberg, S. A. (2013). The high cost of youth unemployment. Washington, D.C.: Center for American Progress.

Sum, A. (2013). Jobless rate for poor black teen dropouts? Try 95%. In P. Solomon (Ed.), Making Sense: PBS Newshour.

Sum, A., Khatiwada, I., Trubskyy, M., Ross, M., McHugh, W., & Palma, S. (2014). The plummeting labor market fortunes of teens and young adults. Washington, D.C.: Brookings Institution.

#youth #workforcedevelopment #employment

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