Every summer, thousands of Boston youth participate in the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program—a program that connects teens and young adults in the city with an internship and a real income while they’re on vacation from school. But this spring, as businesses and organizations all over the city temporarily shuttered to prevent the spread of COVID-19, officials faced a difficult dilemma: How do you run an internship program from home?
Other cities, including New York City and Baltimore, canceled or scaled back their youth jobs programs for the summer, leaving tens of thousands of teens and young adults without the summer jobs they were counting on—and leaving their families struggling to make up the lost income right when it was most needed. Northeastern wanted to make sure that didn’t happen in Boston.
“As soon as COVID hit, we started meeting weekly to plan out what we could do to save the summer jobs program,” says Alicia Sasser Modestino, an associate professor who’s been working with the City of Boston to study outcomes from its Summer Youth Employment Program for the last several years.