NYC Summer Youth Employment Program

Program basics

  • Aims to increase employment and earnings for youth
  • Provides 7 weeks of paid summer employment

Strength of evidence

Evidence level: Promising (Third-highest tier)


Promising (Third-highest tier)

NYC Summer Youth Employment Program is not yet in any of the major clearinghouses, but has demonstrated positive results in an independent, high-quality evaluation conducted by the Quarterly Journal of Economics

Target population

High school-aged children

Program cost

$2,200 per participant

Implementation locations

Dates active


Outcomes and impact

  • Increased employment by 71 percentage points during the year of participation and 1 percentage point the following year
  • Increased earnings by $876 in the year of participating
  • Earnings decreased by $100 on average 3 years after participation, no significant impact in earnings after 3 years
  • Nearly 10 percent reduction in incarceration and 18 percent reduction in mortality relative to control group

Keys to successful implementation

  • Partner with city agencies and community-based organizations that regularly engage with potential participants, such as the department of education, public housing authority, and others, both to recruit participants and to administer necessary training.
  • Seek employer partners across the non-profit, private, and public sectors to maximize opportunities of interest for students of different backgrounds.
  • Offer specialized employment services for youth that may have different needs to engage in workforce readiness training, such as those who have been justice-involved, in foster care, or homeless.
  • In tandem with partner providers, administer pre-employment training focusing on program goals and expectations; teamwork and conflict resolution; workplace health, safety, and labor laws; and other work readiness topics (values, life goals, wellness, financial literacy, etc.). This will help promote a scaffolded experience for students.
  • After initial implementation, consider developing a year-round program for at-risk youth that ties school-year learning to job experiences.
  • Segment participants by age group and readiness for the workforce: younger youth (14-15) and older youth (16-24).
  • Create an advanced section of the program for older, experienced youth to closely engage with the business community and participate in professional internships.
  • Tie funding targets to local minimum wage and enrollment goals to ensure job placements are fully funded.

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