Local governments can invest in this strategy using State and Local Fiscal Recovery Funds (SLFRF) from the American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA).

  • This strategy can provide assistance to unemployed workers and help prevent violence. The U.S. Department of Treasury has indicated that strategies that help achieve this outcome are eligible for the use of Fiscal Recovery Funds.
  • Investments in this strategy are SLFRF-eligible as long as they are made in qualified census tracts or are designed to assist populations or communities disproportionately impacted by COVID-19.

Program overview

  • Aims to increase employment and earnings for youth
  • Provides 7 weeks of paid summer employment
Cost per Participant
$2,200 per participant

Evidence and impacts


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

  • 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

Best practices in 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.