Preparing New York City High School Students for the Workforce: Evaluation of the Scholars at Work Program

Preparing New York City High School Students for the Workforce: Evaluation of the Scholars at Work Program. RAND Corporation.  Robert Bozick, Gabriella C. Gonzalez, Serafina Lanna, Monica Mean. March 28, 2019.

In 2009, the New York City Department of Small Business Services and Department of Education created Scholars at Work (SAW), a program available to high school seniors enrolled in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at city high schools that opted to participate. Implementation of SAW was the responsibility of Workforce1 Industrial & Transportation Career (ITC) Centers. The goal of SAW is to expose students to career opportunities, to provide them with real-life work experience alongside adults, and to develop their workplace skills. SAW has two core components, each a semester in length: a career exploration module and an internship that places high school seniors with employers. In career exploration, students engage in activities in a classroom setting designed to develop their soft skills and workplace competencies while learning about career opportunities through visits from industry experts. In the internship module, students participate in a paid, after-school internship at a local business for approximately 13 weeks.

Prepared in response to a 2016 request by the New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, this report presents the findings of an external evaluation of the SAW program — in particular, how well it is preparing students for employment and postsecondary education. Researchers conducted an implementation study that examined and described SAW’s activities and processes to understand the extent to which they function as the designers and implementers of the program intended. They also conducted an outcomes study to analyze how SAW participants are faring in the labor market, compared with similar graduates of New York City public schools. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 75 pages].

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NYC Civic Corps Program Evaluation

NYC Civic Corps Program Evaluation. Urban Institute. Nathan Dietz, Daniel Teles, Deondre’ Jones. March 14, 2019

New York City shows a tremendous need for robust social services. Nearly 3.8 million people (45 percent of residents) live in poverty or just above the federal poverty level—and income inequality continues to increase. The scope and scale of these issues, among others, require an extensive mobilization of resources to respond effectively, but organizations often lack the capacity to do so. Approximately 5,000 community-based organizations in NYC provide education, health, economic opportunity, or emergency management services, but staff and budget constraints are common.

The Office of the Mayor recognizes these challenges in its long-term strategic plan, One New York: The Plan for a Strong and Just City, and, as part of its vision, seeks to build the capacity of the civic sector through its NYC Service office, which oversees civic engagement. The NYC Service administers the NYC Civic Corps program and connects 100 NYC Civic Corps members, all of whom are AmeriCorps members, with indirect service positions at 50 community-based organizations and city agencies. These connections supply additional support to recruit and manage volunteers.

The Urban Institute conducted an evaluation of the NYC Service Civic Corps program in 2017–2018 to assess how much organizations benefit from the Civic Corps members. The evaluation sought to answer whether NYC Civic Corps members have significantly greater volunteer management capacity, on average, than similar organizations that do not host AmeriCorps members provided by NYC Civic Corps. [Note: contains copyrighted material].

[PDF format, 75 pages].