Chicago One Summer

Program basics

  • A collaboration between government agencies, community-based organizations, and employers to offer subsidized summer employment and internship opportunities to youth and young adults between 14-24
  • One Summer Chicago operates as an umbrella organization to unify summer skill building programs across Chicago across
  • Program offers badges as a form of professional credential to recognize participants' work readiness in categories including goal planning, financial responsibility, and 21st century skills

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Promising (Third-highest tier)


Promising (Third-highest tier)

Chicago One Summer is not yet in any of the major clearinghouses, but has demonstrated positive results in an independent, high-quality evaluation conducted by UChicago Urban Labs

Target population

High school-aged children

Program cost

Approximately $3,000 per participant

Implementation locations

Dates active


Outcomes and impact

  • 43 percent fewer arrests among at-risk youths 16 months after participation

Keys to successful implementation

  • While high schools may serve as the primary recruitment networks, also engage with community-based non-profit agencies, including employment groups and churches, to recruit and serve youth participants.
  • Offer a broad range of opportunities to appeal to as many potential participants as possible, including working as summer camp counselors, in aldermen’s offices, planting community gardens, and more.
  • Embed a program coordinator or instructor within the program – an adult who can provide guidance on how to be a successful employee and discuss barriers and challenges. Importantly, these team members can be college students home for the summer, staff at program providers, or external applicants interested in becoming mentors.
  • To partners and potential funders, frame the program as preventative rather than remedial; the program is meant to serve as an introduction to the labor force, rather than an intensive intervention.
  • Encourage employers to regularly discuss conflict resolution and to proactively address any perceived slights, as anecdotal evidence suggests participants’ reactions of defensiveness to challenges is a leading obstacle to program completion.

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