NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

The Impact of Youth Employment on Academic Performance

August 19, 2015

Holding a summer job is a rite of passage in American adolescence, a first rung towards adulthood and self-sufficiency. Summer youth employment has the potential to benefit high school students' educational outcomes and employment trajectories, especially for low-income youth.

Research published by the National Center of Economic Research examined New York City's Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP), which provides jobs to youth ages 14-24.  The research found that SYEP participation had positive impacts on student academic outcomes, and these effects were particularly large for students who participate in SYEP multiple times. These findings suggest substantial heterogeneity in program effects, and an important avenue for policy makers to target the program to those who might benefit from it the most. 

Analysis indicates that participating in summer jobs programming for multiple years pays dividends for high school students well beyond the paycheck itself.

Source:  Amy Ellen Schwartz, Jacob Leos-Urbel and Matthew Wiswall, "Making Summer Matter: The Impact Of Youth Employment On Academic Performance," National Bureau of Economic Research, August, 2015.

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