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Summer youth employment programs (SYEP) are special initiatives designed to engage youth in summer jobs. These programs are especially beneficial to individuals in the inner city and from lower income families who might not have opportunities otherwise. For over five years, the City of Boston has worked with the Dukakis Center to research and understand the impact of the Boston SYEP. Some takeaways include improved academic aspirations, job readiness skills, and community engagement and social skills.

Some of the results and impacts are so profound for youth that, most recently, Prof. Alicia Sasser Modestino wrote an opinion piece for The Gotham Gazette encouraging cities to not cancel their SYEPs even during a pandemic.