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Employers need to support summer jobs

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Boston Business Journal, June 2021

Memorial Day traditionally marks the beginning of summer and with it, the hunt by many teenagers for a summer job. For youth who participate in summer job programs, the hunt can mean much more than a rite of passage. Research from Northeastern University, conducted in partnership with the Boston Mayor’s Office and John Hancock, has demonstrated that summer jobs programs are a cost-effective way of improving a wide range of youth outcomes related to workforce readiness, education, social development, and criminal justice involvement. This year with the labor market rebounding, employers have an extraordinary opportunity to provide jobs to youth in their community while leveraging innovations in virtual summer jobs developed over the course of the pandemic.

Since the early 1990s, Boston’s summer jobs program has been among the nation’s largest and most high-profile youth workforce development initiatives, employing nearly 10,000 youth each summer in jobs with over 900 public and private sector employers. This is due in no small part to support provided by an actively engaged private sector. Interested employers have engaged either through placements brokered by the Boston Private Industry Council or through large employers such as John Hancock mounting their own programs in coordination with city leaders. Jobs typically provide youth age 14 to 24 the opportunity to work 20 to 25 hours per week for a six-week period from early July through mid-August.

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