Overview

This trial is active, not recruiting.

Conditions reduce violence and crime, increase school engagement, increase future labor market outcomes
Treatments employment, social-emotional learning
Phase phase 1/phase 2
Sponsor University of Chicago
Collaborator City of Chicago Department of Family and Support Services
Start date June 2012
End date June 2016
Trial size 1634 participants
Trial identifier NCT01947452, IRB12-1112

Summary

Chicago's Department of Family and Support Services will be providing summer employment and social-emotional skill training to youth over the summer of 2012. The investigators are partnering with them to evaluate the effects of the program. The investigators will track applicants to the program through existing administrative databases to assess the short- and long-term effects of the government's program. The investigators hypothesize that the program will decrease violence involvement and criminal activity, increase schooling engagement, and increase future employment outcomes.

United States No locations recruiting
Other Countries No locations recruiting

Study Design

Allocation randomized
Endpoint classification efficacy study
Intervention model parallel assignment
Masking open label
Primary purpose prevention
Arm
(Experimental)
Youth will be offered a 5-hour per day, 5-day per week employment opportunity over 7 weeks. They will be paid the Illinois minimum wage of $8.25 per hour.
employment
Community organizations will place youth in summer jobs based on youth interests and the availability of positions. Jobs will be part-time in non-profit and government organizations. Youth will be paid the IL minimum wage of $8.25 per hour. The community organizations will provide job mentors to assist youth with barriers to work like transportation or clothing, and to provide supervision at the job site.
(Experimental)
Youth will be offered a 3-hour per day, 5-day per week employment opportunity over 7 weeks. They will also be offered 2-hour per day, 5-day per week social-emotional learning programming, for which they will be paid the same hourly wage as their job ($8.25/hour).
employment
Community organizations will place youth in summer jobs based on youth interests and the availability of positions. Jobs will be part-time in non-profit and government organizations. Youth will be paid the IL minimum wage of $8.25 per hour. The community organizations will provide job mentors to assist youth with barriers to work like transportation or clothing, and to provide supervision at the job site.
social-emotional learning
Community organizations will provide 2 hours of social-emotional learning programming for 5 hours a day. The programming is based on cognitive behavioral therapy principles designed to help youth learn to understand and manage their emotions and behavior. It seeks to teach: self awareness (recognizing one's emotions and values as well as one's strengths and limitations), self management (managing emotions and behaviors to achieve one's goals), social awareness (showing understanding and empathy for others), relationship skills (forming positive relationships, working in teams, and dealing effectively with conflict), and responsible decision-making (making ethical, constructive choices about personal and social behavior).

Primary Outcomes

Measure
Criminal activity
time frame: Program start through end of program (8 weeks)
Criminal activity
time frame: 6 months post-program
Criminal activity
time frame: 1 year post-program
Criminal activity
time frame: 18 months post-program
Criminal activity
time frame: 2 years post-program

Secondary Outcomes

Measure
School engagement
time frame: 6 months after program start (Dec 2013)
School engagement
time frame: 1 year post-program start (June 2014)
School engagement
time frame: 18 months post-program start (Dec 2014)
School engagement
time frame: 2 years post-program start (June 2014)
Employment
time frame: 6 months post-program start
Employment
time frame: 12 months post-program start
Employment
time frame: 18 months post-program start
Employment
time frame: 24 months post-program start
Victimization
time frame: Program start through end of program (8 weeks)
Victimization
time frame: 6 months post-program
Victimization
time frame: 12 months post-program
Victimization
time frame: 18 months post-program
Victimization
time frame: 24 months post-program

Eligibility Criteria

Male or female participants from 14 years up to 21 years old.

Inclusion Criteria: - Currently enrolled in one of 13 target high schools in Chicago, or - Expecting to enroll in one of 13 target high schools for fall 2012 - Between ages 14 and 21 at program start Exclusion Criteria:

Additional Information

Official title The Effects of Summer Employment on Disadvantaged Youth: Experimental Evidence
Principal investigator Harold Pollack, PhD
Description The unemployment rates facing American youth are bleak. Youth employment over the summer, when teenagers are most likely to work, is at a 60 year low. The last decade has shown a dramatic drop: 44.1 percent of teens were employed in July 2000, but only 25.6 percent were working in July 2010. The situation for minority and low-income youth is even worse: the 2010 employment rate for low-income black teens in Illinois was less than one-fourth the rate for higher-income white teens (9 vs. 39 percent). There are good reasons to think that this level of teen unemployment will create significant social costs as well as life-long consequences for youth. Teen employment has been shown to significantly increase employment outcomes later in life; one study from the late 1990s finds that working 20 hours a week as a high school senior increases earnings by 22 percent and wages by 10 percent 6-9 years later. Increasing wages for teens - both immediately through the provision of a job itself and later through increased earning potential - may also have a substantial impact on their crime rates. There is evidence that the higher the wage rate available to an individual, the less likely he is to commit a violent or property crime. Increasing income more generally (through income transfers, housing vouchers, tax credits, etc.) has also been convincingly shown to reduce crime, as has investing in individuals' skill development. Since the provision of a summer job is likely to perform all three functions - increase the available wage, provide additional income, and improve individuals' skills (not to mention keep youth busy during the summer months when crime usually spikes) - it is reasonable to expect that it would also decrease criminal behavior. Surprisingly, there is almost no direct evidence on the effects of providing teens with summer jobs. Some early evaluations of programs in the 70s and 80s showed promising but mixed results, yet the research designs were too weak to draw strong conclusions. In addition, none of those evaluations looked at criminal behavior or violence involvement as outcomes, which seem likely to be one of the key effects of such programs. Less direct evidence shows that intensive residential job training programs have created substantial decreases in arrests, convictions, and incarceration for participants, and that job placement programs can reduce crime among parolees and increase incomes among welfare recipients. Taken together, the evidence suggests that using employment as a crime reduction strategy is quite promising, if not yet proven. But for summer jobs programs in particular, there is a startling lack of evidence. Despite the dearth of research, policymakers already seem convinced that summer employment support is a good idea. The federal government dedicated $1.2 billion of the 2009 stimulus to employment for disadvantaged youth, with an emphasis on summer jobs programs. These spending levels are not new. Summer jobs for disadvantaged youth have been federally funded since 1964; from 1998 to the present, they have been part of the annual appropriation for Youth Activities of about $1 billion. The President proposed another $1.5 billion specifically for youth summer jobs last fall; when Congress did not pass his proposal, he committed the Department of Labor to arranging for 250,000 youth summer opportunities regardless. Given the amount of resources spent on youth summer jobs programs over the past half century, the lack of evidence on such programs' effects is startling. Because of the way Chicago's jobs program for disadvantaged youth - One Summer +PLUS - is structured, the program will produce some of the only rigorous evidence to date on the effects of summer jobs programs. It will also measure the incremental effectiveness of adding a social-cognitive skill development component. Similar social-cognitive programming has been shown to reduce violent crime and increase school engagement in a recent randomized control trial. The evaluation will also assess the cost effectiveness of both treatment arms.
Trial information was received from ClinicalTrials.gov and was last updated in August 2016.
Information provided to ClinicalTrials.gov by University of Chicago.