Recruiting Employer Partners for Summer Youth Employment Programs

Learning from the JP Morgan Chase & Co. Summer Youth Employment Program Evaluation

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By Cassie Wuest, Ivonne Garcia

Summer youth employment programs (SYEPs) are a workforce development strategy used around the country to provide early work experiences to young people each year. These programs partner with local employers to provide subsidized wages for young people between the ages of 14 and 24. The programs often include job-readiness training (which prepares young people to seek employment through, for example, help writing résumés or getting ready for interviews) and financial literacy training, as well as other forms of support. SYEPs provide first job experiences for many young people who participate.

Rigorous research examining whether summer jobs positively affect young people’s longer-term employment and postsecondary outcomes is limited, but there is evidence that SYEPs improve more immediate outcomes. MDRC’s lottery-based study of New York City’s SYEP showed that the program had large effects on young people’s employment and earnings during the summer for which they applied. Other studies have shown that SYEPs have the potential to improve outcomes related to school engagement and youth development. More generally, research shows that early work experience can bolster long-term economic and academic outcomes and those related to social and emotional well-being. Additionally, having a job between ages 16 and 18 is associated with having a higher-quality job in adulthood.

In 2022, JPMorgan Chase & Co. committed $20 million over the course of five years to support SYEPs across the United States. In the first year thereafter, it awarded grants to 27 organizations that operate SYEPs across the country. The grantees include social service agencies, economic development agencies, and other types of organizations that focus on workforce development and youth development. JPMorgan Chase partnered with MDRC to conduct an evaluation to promote continual improvement among grantee organizations. MDRC conducted interviews with grantees, focused on grantees’ program models and implementation, and collected data to gauge the programs’ reach in terms of the number and demographics of young people they served, as well as the number and types of job placements they made. This brief focuses on SYEPs’ efforts to engage and recruit employer partners.

Document Details

Publication Type
May 2024
Wuest, Cassie and Ivonne Garcia. 2024. “Recruiting Employer Partners for Summer Youth Employment Programs.” New York: MDRC.