Jun 18, 2015


The Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) is designed to provide work experience and income for low-income youth in New York City, ages 14-24. An analysis of SYEP data matched with NYC Department of Education files found that the program increased school attendance in the following school year, and increased rates of passing standardized exams in English and math, compared with results from students randomly assigned to a control group.


Target population: Public school students ages 14-24

The Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) is a program administered by the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development. All NYC youth ages 14-24 are eligible for the program. Community-based organizations throughout the city serve as intake sites and supervise job placements for participating youth. The jobs consist of entry-level positions in the non-profit, private, and public sectors. Youth are most commonly placed in summer camps and child care centers. Participants work up to 25 hours per week for seven weeks, and earn the New York State minimum wage.


Leos-Urbel, J., Schwartz, A.E., Weinstein, M. & Weitzman, B.C. (2012). More than a Paycheck? The Impact of Summer Youth Employment on Students’ Educational Engagement and Success. Institute for Education and Social Policy.

Evaluated population: The sample includes 36,630 public school students in grades 8-11. Approximately 90 percent of the sample was eligible for free or reduced-price lunch, and about 85 percent were black or Hispanic.

Approach: Participation in SYEP was determined through a random lottery system that assigned youth to the program. Outcomes measured included school attendance, and attempting and passing English and math Regents exams (standardized examinations in New York State) in the following school year. The data for the 2007 SYEP summer program were matched to NYC Department of Education files.

Results: First, the study found that SYEP increased school attendance relative to the control group, a total of about two additional days of school in the following year. Results showed larger gains in attendance for students at greater educational risk. Specifically, these are students who were in attendance less than 95 percent in the prior fall and also students ages 16 years and older who have greater autonomy in deciding whether to attend school. Secondly, results showed that SYEP increased the probability of attempting and passing English and math Regents exams, relative to results for the control group, for students ages 16 and older who have low prior school attendance.  



Leos-Urbel, J., Schwartz, A.E., Weinstein, M. & Weitzman, B.C. (2012). More than a paycheck? The impact of summer youth employment on students’ educational engagement and success. Institute for Education and Social Policy.

Contact Information

The Institute for Education and Social Policy

Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development

New York University

665 Broadway, Suite 805

New York, NY 10012

KEYWORDS: Adolescents (12-17), Males and Females (Co-ed), Black/African American, Hispanic/Latino, Community-based, Service Learning, Summer Program, Employment/Earnings, Job training/Readiness

Program information last updated on 3/20/15.