This report examines how employer engagement in summer youth employment programs (SYEPs) helps facilitate youths’ connections to the workforce. 

This is important given concerns about low levels of employment among youth and potential effects of unemployment on young people’s long-term outcomes. We focus on SYEP initiatives in three cities: New Orleans, Philadelphia, and St. Louis. We find that it is crucial for SYEP staff to deepen engagement with employers to create viable bridges to the labor force and that there are a variety of strategies SYEPs can use to build and strengthen employer partnerships. We conclude with recommendations, discussing promising approaches and challenges to employer engagement and sustained involvement among employer partners.