Panel: Helping Disconnected Youth Find Education and Employment: Impact Study Findings from Recent Evaluations
(Employment and Training Programs)

Friday, November 3, 2017: 10:15 AM-11:45 AM
Wrigley (Hyatt Regency Chicago)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Panel Organizers:  Christian Geckeler, Social Policy Research Associates
Panel Chairs:  Hannah Betesh, Social Policy Research Associates
Discussants:  Harry Holzer, Georgetown University

Reconnecting Out-of-School Youth: Impacts from the Evaluation of the Los Angeles Reconnections Career Academy (LARCA) Program
Christian Geckeler1, Hannah Betesh1, Hannah Diaz1, Lea Folsom1, Hui Kim2 and Anne Paprocki1, (1)Social Policy Research Associates, (2)San Mateo County Office of Education

Serving Disconnected Young Adults: Evaluation of the @LIKE Program
Sonam Gupta, Mithuna Srinivasan and Luke Patterson, IMPAQ International, LLC

Building a Future: Interim Impacts from the Youthbuild Evaluation
Cynthia Miller1, Megan Millenky1, Lisa Schwartz2, Lisbeth Goble2, Jillian Stein2 and Michelle Manno1, (1)MDRC, (2)Mathematica Policy Research

A considerable portion of the nation’s youth are disconnected from either school or work. The long-term economic prospects for these individuals are poor. They tend to work less and earn less than other similar youth, in no small part due to their low education and skill levels and lack of a diploma or degree. These youth also disproportionately become involved in the criminal justice system, come from low-income backgrounds and are people of color. In short, disconnected youth present a public policy problem of considerable magnitude along several dimensions.

In response to this challenge, the U.S. Department of Labor (US DOL) has issued several grants in recent years designed to improve the outcomes of disconnected youth and help them get back on track. This panel presents findings from the impact evaluations of four such programs, each providing disconnected youth with some combination of education, training and employment services amongst other services. Together the findings from these evaluations advance what is known about the effectiveness of programs serving disconnected youth and shed light for evaluators and policymakers on strategies to consider in future programs and evaluations.

The first paper in the panel presents findings from an evaluation of New York City’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), which provides summer jobs to tens of thousands of NYC youth each year. The presentation shares findings from an experimental analysis of the impacts of SYEP on education, employment, and earnings, and presents findings from a study of the program’s implementation. The presentation will discuss the policy implications of these findings and next steps for SYEP.

The second paper presents findings from the evaluation of the Los Angeles Reconnections Career Academy (LARCA) program. Funded by a first-round US DOL Workforce Innovation Fund (WIF) grant, the Los Angeles Economic and Workforce Development Department established the LARCA program to provide education, training and employment services to disconnected youth, ages 16 to 24. The presentation shares findings from the randomized control trial, drawing up on administrative data from multiple public agencies.

The third paper presents findings from the evaluation of the Linking Innovation, Knowledge and Employment (@LIKE) program. Also funded by a first-round US DOL WIF grant, the Riverside County Economic Development Agency used this funding to aid disconnected youth, ages 18 to 24, through a program that provided five major categories of services: life coaching, career exploration, education, employment, and work readiness preparation. The presentation will share findings from the qualitative and quantitative evaluations and cost-benefit analysis. The evaluation mainly relied on administrative data for the analysis.

The fourth paper presents findings from the evaluation of the YouthBuild program, which is funded through a combination of federal and private sources and which operates nationally. The program serves low-income, out-of-school youth, ages 16 to 24 with education services, counseling, leadership development activities and job training. The presentation shares findings from the randomized control trial, drawing upon administrative and survey data. The presentation focuses on interim findings up to two and a half years after enrollment.

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