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Graduate Research Assistant

The SGA will work under the supervision of Dr. Modestino and Dr. Marks on an ongoing project, a multiyear evaluation of the Boston Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), funded by the William T. Grant Foundation. This project evaluates the efficacy of SYEP and study how and to what extent its impacts on youth development are achieved. Within this project, the research activities that the Research Assistant will engage in are to assist with both randomized evaluations as well as quasi-experimental assessments testing the effectiveness of various features of the Boston Summer Youth Employment Program that have the potential to reduce inequality including job laddering across summers, learn and earn conditional cash transfers, and virtual internship options. The SGA will assist with ongoing research to evaluate SYEP impacts across several dimensions: First, they will complete use existing peer network data from survey responses in 2021 and 2022 to determine peer effects on re-application behavior, number of summers of participation, as well as attitudes and behaviors. Second, they will use a longitudinal dataset of program data to identify the impact of repeat participation on long-term academic, employment, and criminal justice outcomes. Finally, they will use administrative data to identify peer spillovers in the context of school and criminal justice networks.

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  • Project Title

    Building a more holistic and inclusive workforce development system for Boston's Youth

  • Faculty / Project Lead

    Alicia Sasser Modestino

  • Project Description

    This multi-year project supports a long-term researcher-practitioner partnership between the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy and the City of Boston’s Department of Youth Engagement and Employment. This partnership seeks to advance the City’s work to reduce inequality among young people through the Boston Summer Youth Employment Program and other year-round workforce development programming by creating meaningful employment experiences that prepare youth for both educational and career pathways into adulthood. The goal of the RPP is to conduct and disseminate both long-term research as well as short-term “rapid response” data analysis that informs decisions about policy and practice to build a more holistic and inclusive workforce development system for Boston’s youth. This will include an umbrella of research projects that will focus on four areas (1) increasing coordination and alignment across city agencies, program intermediaries, community colleges, and employers to target opportunities for underserved youth, (2) Strengthening program features that have the potential to reduce inequality (e.g., job type, career readiness curriculum, job laddering, number of summers), (3) expanding opportunities for youth to engage in post secondary education and training, and (4) linking summer jobs participants to other year-round supports (e.g., Boston’s Tuition Free Community College Program) so that they can build on their summer experiences.

  • Qualifications Necessary

    The ideal candidate will possess all of the required qualifications listed below plus one or two of the additional qualifications. Required Qualifications: • Attention to detail and organization are essential to ensure data integrity • Expert knowledge of excel and experience programming in STATA to analyze data • Experience conducting social science research in economics, sociology, or a related field • Excellent verbal and communication skills to facilitate client interactions • Additional Qualifications: • Knowledge of survey methodology • Understanding of workforce development programs • Familiarity with randomized control trial designs