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Year-Round Benefits from Summer Jobs

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Youth protestors during a 2019 rally.

Education Next, August 2023

Through the Boston Summer Youth Employment Program, about 10,000 young people receive job-readiness training and work in seasonal jobs each year.

During the latter half of the 20th Century, the early blooms of spring were also a signal to the nation’s teenagers: it’s time to find a job. About half of all Americans between 16 and 19 years old spent part of their summer break bagging groceries or slinging ice cream until the early 2000s. Then, the youth employment rate fell sharply and stayed low for the next two decades and through the Covid-19 pandemic. Teenage employment has since rebounded, with about one in three young people employed in July 2023.

Black and Hispanic teens are less likely to be employed than white students, both during the summer and the school year. They also are less likely to graduate high school, enroll in college, and earn a degree. The sort of community-based learning that teenagers’ jobs can impart, such as gaining employable skills and learning to meet professional expectations for responsibility, punctuality, and collaboration, has attracted the interest of policymakers looking to improve outcomes for at-risk students.

Continue reading at Education Next.

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