Three Innovative Youth Employment Programs

Communities across the country are creating innovative youth employment programs to help tackle issues like income inequality.

BLOG POST | Jul 13, 2018
By Niles Anderegg

by Niles Anderegg, research and content development associate, ICMA 

Summer is usually the time of year when many young people, especially high school students, get summer jobs. Across the country, local governments provide summer youth employment programs to encourage young people to gain experience and learn skills that will serve them not only during the summer but also throughout their adult lives.

From the community's perspective, these programs can be particularly helpful to low-income teens and in some cases potentially reduce youth recidivism. With that in mind, here are three innovative youth employment programs from across the country:

In Los Angeles County, California, the probation department and the public works department collaborated on a unique program designed to take youth offenders and give them internships in public works programs. The goal of this program is to reduce the relapse into criminal behavior among the counties' juvenile delinquent population.  

Another Innovative summer youth program comes from Little Rock, Arkansas. The focus here is to create more career-driven youth. To that end, the city has partnered with private-sector employers who will pair with students and teach them skills that will increase their employment opportunities as well as instill in them a strong work ethic.

Miami, Florida, faces issues related to economic inequality. Miami is fourth in the nation regarding the wealth gap between its richest residents and its poorest residents. The city's youth employment program targets youth from its most economically disadvantaged population. The goal of this program is not only to give these young people a job but, by adding a financial literacy component, to allow the students to build upon what they learned and to manage what they earned during their summer jobs.   

These are just a few of the innovative programs that communities are implementing to make the most out of their summer youth programs. 

Related Content 

Boulder's Plan to Become a Child- and Youth-Friendly City. This article from 2017 looks at the ways Boulder, Colorado, is making its community more child and youth friendly.  

Youth as an Asset to Sustainability Sucess. This blog post from 2012 looks at how Baltimore youth helped their community become more sustainable. 

Career Compass No. 35: Leadership Lessons from My Teenage Daughter. In this 2013 installment of ICMA's Career Compass series, Dr. Benest shares leadership lessons learned from parenting a teen.



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