The Potential for Summer Youth Employment Programs to Reduce Inequality: What Do We Know?

Alicia Sasser Modestino and Trinh Nguyen

Summer Youth Employment Programs (SYEP) are believed to improve the economic, academic, and behavioral outcomes of the population they serve, particularly for inner-city, low-income, and non-white youth. As part of a larger evaluation, we collected survey data on participants in the Boston 2015 SYEP. These participants reported additional job readiness skills, higher academic aspirations, and more positive attitudes towards their communities compared to the control group. Overall, these trends are encouraging, particularly because the largest gains were observed for minority youth. It remains unclear whether these short-term improvements will result in sustained advantages down the road. In the second phase of our evaluation, we hope to tackle this question by linking the survey responses reported in this brief to administrative data from employment, academic, and behavioral records, to better articulate the long-term effects of SYEP. 

More on Cross-Sectoral...