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The effects of summer jobs on disadvantaged youth
Initial registration date
May 17, 2017
May 17, 2017 3:59 PM EDT
University of Michigan
Other Primary Investigator(s)
Additional Trial Information
This project is a randomized field experiment designed to measure the impact of offering in-school youth a supported summer job and SEL programming in Chicago.
This trial studies the impact of a public summer jobs program in reducing violence. The 2012 One Summer Plus (OSP) program in Chicago offers 7-8 weeks of part-time summer employment at Illinois’ minimum wage ($8.25/hour). Local community organizations place youth in nonprofit and government jobs (for example, summer camp counselors, workers in a community garden, or office assistants for an alderman). Youth are assigned job mentors—adults who help them learn to be successful employees and to navigate barriers to employment—at a ratio of about 10 to 1. Half of youth in the treatment group were randomly offered social-emotional learning (SEL) programming based on cognitive behavioral therapy principles, aimed at teaching youth to understand and manage the aspects of their thoughts, emotions, and behavior that might interfere with employment. Control youth are excluded from the program but are free to pursue other employment opportunities of their own volition.
Intervention Start Date
Intervention End Date
Primary Outcomes (end points)
Arrests for violent, property, drug, and other crime; provider and non-provider employment; and persistence in school.
Primary Outcomes (explanation)
Primary outcome data include Chicago Police Department and Illinois Statement Police arrest records covering both juveniles and adults, Illinois Department of Employment Security Unemployment Insurance records, and Chicago Public School records.
Secondary Outcomes (end points)
Secondary Outcomes (explanation)
Youth ages 14 - 21 were recruited from 13 Chicago public high schools. To ensure that the study population was at risk of the key behavior of interest, the schools were chosen because they had the highest number of youth at risk of violence involvement in the city, as identified by a separate research partner. Program providers encouraged all youth attending or planning to attend these schools to apply to the program, marketing it as a summer jobs program with more work hours (and so more opportunity for income) than Chicago's standard summer programming. A total of 1,634 youth (about 13 percent of the prior year's student population in these schools) applied for the 700 available program slots.
Data come from matching study youth to various administrative data sources. Program participation is from provider-tracked attendance records. Student-level administrative records from the Chicago Public Schools capture pre- and post program academic outcomes. Demographic information on applicants’ neighborhoods comes from matching the Census tract of youths’ home addresses to data from the American Community Survey. The main outcome measures are from individual-level Illinois State Police arrest records covering both juveniles and adults.
Experimental Design Details
The research team blocked youth on school and gender (the former to match youth to the closest program provider and the latter to over-select males, who are disproportionately involved in violence). We then randomly selected 350 youth for the jobs-only treatment arm and 350 for the jobs + SEL treatment arm. Both groups had an adult job mentor. The remaining applicants were randomly ordered within blocks and treatment groups to form a waitlist. When 30 treatment youth declined to participate, the first 30 control youth (in the same block and treatment group as the decliners) were offered the program, for a total treatment group of 730.
Was the treatment clustered?
Sample size: planned number of clusters
Randomization was not clustered
Sample size: planned number of observations
Sample size (or number of clusters) by treatment arms
Minimum detectable effect size for main outcomes (accounting for sample design and clustering)
INSTITUTIONAL REVIEW BOARDS (IRBs)
University of Chicago SSA/Chapin IRB
IRB Approval Date
IRB Approval Number