Sara Heller

Applying Promising Findings: An Experimental Evaluation of Philadelphia WorkReady

Research Project Description

PI Heller (UM), the City of Philadelphia Mayor's Office, and the Philadelphia Youth Network are conducting a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the impact of Work Ready, a summer jobs program for disadvantaged youth. Recent evidence from random-assignment studies shows that summer jobs programs in New York City and Chicago dramatically reduce violence involvement among participants, but have small, if any, effects on education and employment. The Philadelphia study is intended to 1) Assess how generalizable the prior findings are by testing the crime, employment, and school effects of a different summer jobs program in a new setting, and 2) Expand tests for program effects to socially-costly correlates of violence that may also be affected: mental health, substance abuse, teen pregnancy, housing instability, and child maltreatment. To study these questions, we will allocate summer WorkReady slots by lottery. We will track youth in a range of administrative data, as well as collect some supplementary qualitative evidence about youth experiences.

Laura and John Arnold Foundation
(subcontract: MIT Subaward Agreement No. S4824)

Funding Period: 5/1/2019 to 4/30/2020

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