Workshop: Reducing Inequality Summer by Summer

Youth and Education Workshop Track:

Location: Hilton Denver City Center
1701 California Street, Denver, CO 80202
Date: Friday, June 22, 2018
Time: 2:15pm – 3:45pm Workshop Block 3
Room: Denver

Click here to view the 2018 National Conference on Local Governance & All-America City Awards combined agenda.


Cassie White, Assistant Deputy Director of Youth Services, Mayor’s Office of Workforce Development, City of Boston. She is responsible for monitoring the City of Boston’s workforce development programs for young adults, overseeing over $4 million in federal, state, and local funds annually. Previously, she served as an AmeriCorps VISTA with Massachusetts Campus Compact, where she supported Stonehill College’s Office of Community Based Learning and led Brockton’s Promise, a coalition of youth service organizations. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Stonehill College.

Alicia Sasser Modestino is an Associate Professor at Northeastern University, with joint appointments in the School of Public Policy & Urban Affairs and the Department of Economics. Since 2015 she has also served as the Associate Director of the Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy and is currently a nonresident fellow in the Brookings Metropolitan Policy Program.  Previously, Modestino was a Senior Economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston where she led numerous research projects on regional economic and policy issues for the New England Public Policy Center.  Modestino’s current research focuses on labor market dynamics including youth labor market attachment, skills mismatch, migration, and the impact of health care reform on employers.  Her work has been funded by the William T. Grant Foundation, the Russell Sage Foundation, and the National Science Foundation and has been published in peer-reviewed publications including Journal of Human Resources, Labour Economics, Health Affairs, and Regional Science and Urban Economics.  Modestino holds both a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Economics from Harvard University, where she also served as a doctoral fellow in the Inequality and Social Policy Program at the Kennedy School of Government.


Additional Resources:

Reducing Inequality Summer by Summer: An analysis of the short-term and long-term effects of Boston’s Summer Youth Employment Program


Reducing Inequality Summer by Summer:

Education goes beyond just the school system – we believe early work experience such as the Boston Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) can be a critical factor in determining future success. Labor market outcomes later in life can be influenced by early work experience, particularly if combined with mentoring, career exploration, and acquisition of career and technical skills. These early work experiences are especially critical for low income minority youth, who may not otherwise have such opportunities due to being disproportionally located in neighborhoods with few job opportunities, substandard schools and high levels of crime. African-American and Hispanic teens, especially those from low-income families, often experience the greatest difficulties in finding employment, exacerbating inequalities across groups. While recent studies on SYEPs have suggested positive outcomes in other cities, little is known about the impacts across demographic groups nor the mechanisms by which positive outcomes are achieved. In this workshop we will discuss the findings of  an ongoing evaluation from the Boston SYEP including reductions in criminal activity, improvements in school performance, and increased employment that are linked to what participants learn during the summer program.  We find greater impacts for younger and non-white youth suggesting that summer jobs programs have the potential to reduce inequality across groups.

The presenters will share findings from the recently released report, Reducing Inequality Summer by Summer: An analysis of the short-term and long-term effects of Boston’s Summer Youth Employment Program. This report was the result of a multi-year evaluation of Boston’s SYEP, stemming from a unique collaboration between a funder/practitioner, the City of Boston’s Office of Workforce Development, and an academic research center, Northeastern University’s Dukakis Center for Urban and Regional Policy. The evaluation examined the impact of the Boston SYEP on both short- and long term outcomes by comparing the experiences of youth who applied and were randomly selected to participate to their peers who applied but were not randomly selected. The study used a pre/post survey to measure changes in social skills, job readiness, community engagement and academic aspirations at the end of the summer as well as administrative records to measure criminal justice, education and employment outcomes during the 12-18 months following participation in the program.

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