Program

Sep 24, 2010

OVERVIEW

The Summer Career
Exploration Program is a summer jobs program that emphasizes the importance of
academic achievement in order to promote career success in low-income high
school students. The program was found to positively impact work and earnings
during the summer and college preparation measures including enrollment in
college-track curricula and visits to College Centers. However, it did not
improve the likelihood of taking a college entrance exam, grades academic
effort, the types of courses elected in high school, or graduation rates.
Similarly, while the program increased students’ confidence in their ability to
have a job or a career involving reading and writing and to teach or hold a job
that requires reading and writing and increased the likelihood of school-year
employment by summer employers, other career development outcomes (such as
attitude towards work, feeling able to make career decisions and reach goals,
school year earnings, and frequency and duration of employment) were not
positively impacted.

DESCRIPTION OF PROGRAM

Target population:
High school students who have completed Grades 10 to 12. The program is open to
teenagers who come from families with incomes less than 150% of the federal
poverty level.

The Summer Career
Exploration Program is a 6-week program designed increase academic motivation
and promote career success in low-income high school students.All students undergo
pre-employment training consisting of the following soft skills:

·interview skills;

·making career choices;

·maintaining a job;

·demeanor;

·job readiness; and

·work-place behavior.

Approximately fifteen hours per week
are spent in pre-employment training. Students are also assigned a part-time
work placement (25 hours per week) that matches with their interests.

College monitors serve as role models
and provide personal and academic support for students. They shadow them to
advocate on their behalf, coach them to success, and suggest ways to address
problems encountered at work. Monitors visit each student at work twice a week
to ensure that employers are providing a safe and well-supervised work
experience and that students are meeting employers’ expectations.
Students may participate in the program for up to three summers.

A 1998 analysis of
SCEP showed a cost of $950 per youth.

EVALUATION(S) OF PROGRAM

McClanahan, W.
S., Sipe, C. L., & Smith, T. J. (2004). Enriching summer work: An evaluation
of the Summer Career Exploration Program
. Philadelphia: Public/Private
Ventures.

Evaluated population:
Approximately 1,499 low-income high school
students (primarily in Philadelphia, PA and Camden, NJ) who have completed
Grades 10 to 12. Approximately 72 percent of the sample was African American,
with the remaining 28 percent split between Hispanics, Asians, and non-Hispanic
whites. Females comprised over half of the sample (62 percent). The program
operated at 28 sites.

Approach:
All applicants applying to SCEP for the first time were randomly assigned to the
SCEP program or to a control group. Baseline survey data were collected, as well
as 3-month and 12-month follow-up data, which were collected via a computer
assisted telephone interview. One-year follow-up measures included (a) academic
outlook; (b) orientation towards work; (c) career choice; and (d) post-SCEP
employment.

Results: The
program had mixed findings for college preparation and career development one
year after applying to SCEP. With regard to college preparation, the program
increased enrollment college-track curricula (a very small effect size of .18),
and visits to a College Center (a small effect size of .30), but it did not
increase class effort, types of courses elected in high school, the likelihood
to graduate, and the likelihood of taking a college entrance exam.

Similarly, in
comparison to no-treatment control group students, intervention students were
more likely to report having confidence in their ability to teach or hold a job
that requires reading and writing (effect size statistics not available), and
were more likely to be employed during the school year by their summer employer
(a small effect size of .27), but they were not more likely to report other
career development outcomes, such as improved attitudes towards work, feeling
better able to make career decisions and reach goals, increased school year
earnings, and increased frequency and duration of employment.

SOURCES FOR MORE INFORMATION

References

McClanahan, W. S.,
Sipe, C. L., & Smith, T. J. (2004). Enriching summer work: An evaluation of
the Summer Career Exploration Program
. Philadelphia: Public/Private
Ventures. Available at

http://www.ppv.org/ppv/publications/assets/176_publication.pdf
.

 

KEYWORDS:
Adolescence (12 to 17), Youth (16+), High School, High-Risk, Black or African
American, Employment, College Preparation, Community-Based, Community or Media
Campaign; Mentoring/Tutoring; Service or Vocational Learning; Cost, Urban,
Academic Motivation.

Updated 9/24/10