The Boston Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development has published an analysis of the short- and long-term effects of Boston’s Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), based on associate professor Alicia Sasser Modestino’s research.
Modestino is currently leading a multi-year program evaluation of Boston’s SYEP, funded by the William T. Grant Foundation. Using a randomized control trial, she has found that youth in the treatment group exhibited significant reductions in the number of arraignments for violent crimes (-35 percent) and property crimes (-57 percent) during the 17 months after program participation relative to the control group with even larger gains observed among African American and Hispanic males.
Moreover, the reductions in subsequent criminal activity were greater for youth in the treatment group who reported positive improvements in social skills during the summer of participation, including how to manage their emotions, ask for help, and resolve conflict with a peer. In most cases, the largest gains were observed for non-white youth, suggesting that Boston’s SYEP may have the capacity to reduce inequality across demographic groups.
The evaluation will continue to investigate both the short- and long-term effects of summer jobs on youth employment and academic outcomes to determine whether the program has the potential to reduce inequality across racial and ethnic groups.
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