1. Summer Jobs for Youth Success

    January 17, 2017

    Diverse Volunteers cheerfully sorting food items

    Large disparities exist in education and economic outcomes persist for youth from different parts of Washtenaw County. Summer jobs programs for at-risk-youth is a primary strategy for closing these gaps. Such programs provide income for youth and their families, provide structured summer activities, improve later academic performance and reduce criminal activity.

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    This program will leverage the U-M as a large summer employer for youth, along with our ability to provide educational programming to rigorously assess the outcome using state-of-the-art social science techniques. Youth will be placed in a variety of jobs across the scope of the U-M enterprise, to allow understanding of the impact of the nature of the work on outcomes. The program will include coaching for the youth employees, training for job supervisors, and required Friday programs for the youth. Through randomized studies, Poverty Solutions researchers will evaluate the program on a series of criteria, including comparison groups in otherwise similar summer jobs programs but without U-M placements or program components.

    This is the first program of its kind to be conducted by a major university. The goal is to measure outcomes such as youth employee satisfaction, high-school attainment, permanent employment outcomes, college or vocational training enrollment, and also the changes in attitudes in the youth employee supervisors, and to translate those findings to inform youth jobs programs developed by institutions such as government agencies, and other kinds of large company job sites.

    H. Luke Shaefer, U-M Poverty Solutions
    Mary Jo Callan, U-M Ginsberg Center
    University of Michigan Human Resources
    University of Michigan Youth Policy Lab