OFA PeerTA Spotlight: Summer Youth Employment


The Federal Government continues its commitment to promoting summer youth employment opportunities for at-risk youth. In 2015, the Administration for Children and Families’ Office of Family Assistance issued a “Dear Colleague” letter to their TANF program stakeholders. The letter highlights a Training and Employment Guidance Letter (TEGL) issued on March 26, 2015 by the Employment and Training Administration at the Department of Labor (DOL). The TEGL explains the broad vision for the youth services included in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA). Additionally, it references another letter jointly issued by DOL, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in April 2014 that encouraged youth providers and Public Housing Agencies to develop summer programs for at-risk and low-income youth.

In 2014, the Departments of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Labor (DOL), and Housing and Urban Development (HUD) issued a letter encouraging partnerships among the network of state and local youth service and workforce development providers, human service agencies, and public housing agencies to develop summer jobs programs for needy and at-risk youth that provide employment, educational experiences, and essential skills such as financial literacy and time management. Summer employment provides teens and young adults with critical skills and experience that lay the foundation for their future employment. As agencies contemplate operating a summer youth employment program for 2015, the Office of Family Assistance (OFA) PeerTA Network has compiled the following resources from OFA webinars and products to assist in our users’ preparation.

Selected Resources on Summer Youth Employment

Webinar: Investing in Youth and the Community: Summer Youth Employment Programs, May 2014

On Wednesday, May 7, 2014, the OFA PeerTA Network, along with partners from the U.S. Departments of Labor and Housing and Urban Development, hosted the “Investing in Youth and the Community: Summer Youth Employment Programs” webinar. This webinar explored emerging initiatives, partnerships, and strategies for implementing summer youth employment programs. The webinar highlighted federal, state, private, and public services available to engage youth in summer employment, while also providing Temporary Assistance for Needy Families (TANF)-serving organizations and other stakeholders with the opportunity to learn how to engage various partners in supporting summer youth employment activities. Presenters included representatives from Chapin Hall at the University of Chicago, Brandeis University’s Center for Youth and Communities, and the Denver Public Housing Authority’s Youth Employment Academy.

In follow-up to this presentation, OFA created a series of Summer Youth Employment Program Profiles – providing more in-depth information on the background, program model, lessons learned, outcomes, and successes for a number of programs engaging youth in summer employment. These profiles highlight the activities of the City of Richmond, Department of Employment and Training’s YouthWORKS Division; the City of Buffalo, Buffalo Employment and Training Center; and the Denver Housing Authority’s Youth Employment Academy.

Webinar: Leveraging Private/Public Partnerships and Funding to Improve Summer Youth Employment Opportunities, December 2012

The Office of Family Assistance hosted the “Leveraging Private/Public Partnerships and Funding to Improve Summer Youth Employment Opportunities” webinar on Tuesday, December 11, 2012. This webinar provided background information on funding strategies for summer youth employment activities and discussed methods for leveraging both public and private funding streams. The webinar featured presenters from the LA Conservation Corps, the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development, ABCD Inc., and the Philadelphia Youth Network. The presenters encouraged those implementing summer youth employment programs to collaborate with TANF agencies, the business community, community action agencies and other Community Services Block Grant (CSBG)-funded programs, workforce investment programs, and private foundations, in an effort to better serve youth, reach TANF participants, and engage key stakeholders.

The Office of Family Assistance hosted a webinar entitled “The ABC’s of Creating Summer Youth Programs and Partnerships” on October 17, 2012. The webinar featured presenters from Mathematica Policy Research, the Southeast Tennessee Development District-Local Workforce Investment Area Five, the District of Columbia Department of Employment Services, and Corporate Voices for Working Families. The presenters provided an overview of strategies for developing summer youth employment programs that can work in various contexts with different types of employers. Also discussed were the strategic partnerships, funding streams, and recruitment and placement strategies that can be utilized to increase summer youth employment opportunities.

ACF/OFA Region IV and DOL-ETA Region III TANF and WIA: Strengthening Pathways to Employment Meeting, July 2012

In response to the technical assistance and program needs of states throughout the southeast, the United States Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance, Region IV, and the United States Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration, Region IIII, hosted a technical assistance meeting from July 24 – 26, 2012 in Atlanta, Georgia. This meeting allowed member states to work alongside their peers to outline specific challenges faced by TANF and Workforce Investment Act (WIA) agencies and the families they serve and posit plausible peer-based solutions for moving low-income and working families toward economic self-sufficiency. State TANF and WIA directors and program staff also discussed ways to promote interagency collaboration. Topics included: engaging veterans and military families in the TANF and WIA systems; leveraging partnerships to strengthen subsidized employment and transitional job initiatives; developing demand-driven career pathways for low-income individuals and TANF participants; maximizing WIA youth and TANF funds to support summer youth employment initiatives; and improving skill-building for low-income individuals and TANF participants with barriers to employment.

Webinar: Region X Tribal TANF – Summer Youth Employment, May 2012

On May 16, 2012, the Administration for Children and Families, Office of Family Assistance, Region X hosted a webinar on how Tribal TANF programs can use Federal TANF and State maintenance-of-effort (MOE) funds for the creation and expansion of subsidized summer youth employment programs. The webinar provided information on how Tribes have operated summer youth employment programs within a Tribal TANF System, strategies for leveraging funds for subsidized youth employment programs through the Workforce Investment Act (WIA) and the Community Services Block Grant (CSBG), and presented promising practices of Tribal TANF agencies that currently operate summer youth employment programs. The webinar was facilitated by Judy Ogliore and Karen “Jack” Granberg from Region X and included presentations from Tammy Kieffer, the 477 Youth Employment Coordinator for the Spokane Tribe in Washington State; Lu Ann Warrington, the Assistance Director of the Menominee Indian Tribe of Wisconsin; and Arlene Templer, the Director of the Department of Human Resource Development for the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes of Montana.

The Summer Employment Experiences and the Personal/Social Behaviors of Youth Violence Prevention Employment Program Participants and Those of a Comparison Group, 2013

This report from the Center for Labor Market Studies highlights the efforts of the Youth Violence Prevention Funder Learning Collaborative, which funded youth employment opportunities in low-income neighborhoods in Boston from 2010 – 2012. The report evaluates the employment program’s impacts and effects on employment experiences, personal and social behaviors, and exposure to violence. The program was shown to have positive impacts on program participants.

Employment and Unemployment Among Youth in the Summer of 2014, August 2014

The U.S. Department of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics released an economic news release on the summer youth labor force for the summer of 2014. From April to July 2014, the number of employed youth 16 to 24 years old increased by 2.1 million to 20.1 million. The share of young people employed in July was 51.9 percent. Unemployment among youth rose by 913,000 from April to July 2014, compared with an increase of 692,000 during the same months in 2013.

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