Sunday, May 09, 2010

Youth Summer Employment Programmes

A continuing theme on this blog for the last three years has been the enormous empirical evidence demonstrating firstly that this recession is impacting young people disproportionately, that youth unemployment has substantial negative impacts outside of the basic first-round economic effects and that there is an urgent need to bump this issue up the policy agenda in Ireland. Policies that have been discussed include large-scale internship programmes, "kurzarbeit"policies that would encourage job sharing, enhanced job training programmes properly design and evaluated.

Mathematica Policy Research have been examining some of the programmes developed under the Recovery Act in the US. Linked here (thanks Mary Doyle from Geary for emailing this to me) is a document examining the development of major youth summer employment programmes financed under the act. Over 355 thousand people aged 14-24 took part in this particular programme. The evaluation is mostly at the level of implementation, reporting very high levels of satistfaction on both the side of employers and employees with the programme. One of the key metrics used, a measure of "work readiness" increased among participants. The evaluation itself suffers somewhat from the fact that this programme was rolled out very quickly to a "use or lose it" funding timescale and thus much of the evidence is suggestive rather than conclusive. However, there is a huge amount of process information contained in this document that any Irish policymaker interested in attempting to address the youth labour market should examine. In particular, the potential efficacy of a programme like this for improving post-internship outcomes among recent graduates and unemployed school leavers should be examined.

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