Panel Paper: An Introduction to the World of Work: Findings from an Evaluation of New York City's Summer Youth Employment Program

Friday, November 3, 2017
Wrigley (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Erin Jacobs Valentine and Chloe Anderson, MDRC

At the turn of the 21st century, employment rates among teenagers and young adults in the United States began falling dramatically, a trend that accelerated during the Great Recession and has since reversed little. In this context, public programs that provide paid summer jobs to young people may play an especially important role in providing early work experiences for teenagers and young adults who would not otherwise have them. Participants in these programs benefit by earning immediate income and may also learn valuable work-related soft skills that could help them in the future.

With funding from the U.S. Department of Labor and private foundations, MDRC conducted a study of the impacts of the nation’s largest summer youth jobs program—New York City’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP)—on young people’s employment, earnings, and education. Open to New York City residents ages 14 to 24, the program lasts six to seven weeks in July and August, and offers up to 25 hours per week of educational services and paid work in minimum-wage, entry-level jobs with public and private employers across the city. The study includes a sample of nearly 265,000 young adults who applied to SYEP for the first time between 2006 and 2010.

The analysis uses an experimental design that relies on the program’s randomized lottery application system. To assess the impacts of SYEP, the study compares outcomes for young people selected by the randomized lotteries, who were offered SYEP services, with outcomes for those not selected by the randomized lotteries, who were not offered SYEP services, using administrative data for up to 9 years following the summer of first application.

The presentation will touch on findings from implementation research, but will primarily focus on impact findings. Policy implications and next steps for SYEP will also be discussed.

Full Paper: