Expanding Summer Employment Opportunities for Low-Income Youth
Author(s): Schwartz, Amy E.; Leos-Urbel, J.
Organizational Author(s): The Hamilton Project of the Brookings Institute
Funding source not identified
Resource Availability: Publicly available
Offers a proposal to strengthen and expand work-related summer activities with the goal of fostering the skill development, education, and economic success of low-income youth.
“Research suggests that summer youth employment programs (SYEPs) can improve educational outcomes and social and emotional development, and decrease negative behaviors (including criminal behaviors), at least in the short term. A number of states and localities offer SYEPs on varying scales, although the availability of jobs fluctuates year to year. [This memo] proposes that the federal government make grants to state and local governments to work with local community-based organizations (CBOs) on the expansion of summer job programs. Targeting low-income youth ages 16 to 19…these expanded programs would provide employment and training to young people who currently face many barriers to entering the workforce” (p.1). (Abstractor: Author)
Major Findings & Recommendations
• The authors propose “expanding summer jobs programs for low-income youth—ages 16 to 19, in both urban and rural communities, and who are enrolled in or have graduated from high school—through a program that will pay participants the federal minimum wage for working 25 hours per week for six weeks” through grants from the U.S. Department of Labor to states (p.3).
Reasons for their proposal include:
• “Expanding summer jobs for low-income youth would yield benefits in many dimensions, including to the individual participant and to society. Benefits to the individual participants include income received, workforce readiness, reduction in risky behavior and crime, increase of earnings over the long run, and improvements in educational outcomes” (p.6)
• “Summer jobs may be an effective tool in the effort to reduce inequality at the beginning of adulthood and may level the playing field for low-income youth” (p.7).
• “Summer jobs can provide [many] benefits to low-income youth: increasing their engagement in school, providing job experience, and reducing participation in risky activities across a broad range” (p.7).
• “Social benefits include the services provided by participants, such as service as a camp counselor, and improvements in communities, such as reductions in crime. As noted above, prior research suggests a link between participation in summer jobs programs and lower crime rates” (p.6-7).
(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)