Employing Young People May Prevent Violence, But Where Are the Jobs?

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Summer is here, which means that high school students across the United States are looking for jobs. And as it turns out, there may be an added benefit for them, besides having extra money in their pockets. According to a study conducted by the Center for Labor Market Studies at Northeastern University employing young people may reduce violence.

Though the sample size is small — only about 400 young people from the Boston area — the study showed that participants committed about 50% less crime when they were enrolled in a job training and violence prevention program. In the initial survey, taken at the beginning of the summer, 15 percent of the young people hired claimed to have been involved in a fight in the last month. At the end of the program, this number reduced to 8 percent.

But, Andrew Sum, the director of the Center for Labor Market Studies, the organization that conducted the research, said that these positive effects may be limited due to low youth employment at this time. Young people are twice as likely to be jobless now compared to 2000, and low-income young people fare even worse, according to the study.

But for those youth who are fortunate enough to find summer jobs, violence reduction may be just the beginning. According to an article on the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, “The study also found that holding down a summer job may make it easier for teens to find jobs in the fall, and reduce the likelihood young people will engage in risky behaviors, such as alcohol or drug use.”

Got something to say about summer jobs and youth unemployment? Join Youth Radio at our 2nd Livechat: Connecting Youth To Job Pathways on Thursday, July 25th 5-6pm Eastern/ 4pm Central/ 2pm Pacific. We want to hear your solutions and perspectives!

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