Steinhardt and Wagner Researchers Find Summer Job Program Participation Leads to Better Attendance and Regents Scores

New York University’s Institute for Education and Social Policy (IESP) have found that New York City’s summer jobs program improved school attendance and other educational outcomes for youth participant. IESP is a joint institute of the Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, and the Robert F. Wagner Graduate School of Public Service.

Jacob Leos-Urbel, Amy Ellen Schwartz, Meryle Weinstein, and Beth C. Weitzman explored school-related outcomes for New York City public school students who applied to the city’s Summer Youth Employment Program in the summer of 2007.

In their policy brief entitled “More than Paycheck? The Impact of Summer Youth Employment on Students Educational Engagement and Success,” the co-authors found that school attendance increased in the school year following the applicants’ participation in the summer job program. The greatest gains were among participants who had shown risk of educational failure, including those with less than 95 percent attendance before their summer job stint, as well as those age 16 and above who had greater degrees of autonomy with regard to their own school attendance decisions.  In addition, for that group, the program increased the probability that they would pass the English and math Regents exams.

“Although the Summer Youth Employment Program is focused primarily on work during the summer, these results suggest that benefits of the program carry over into the following school year,” said NYU researcher Leos-Urbel.