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Reengaging New York City's Disconnected Youth Through Work: Implementation and Early Impacts of the Young Adult Internship Program (Report No. 2017-22) (Skemer et al., 2017)

  • Findings

    See findings section of this profile.

    Evidence Rating

    Not Rated

Review Guidelines

Absence of conflict of interest. 


Skemer, M., Sherman, A., Williams, S., & Cummings, D. (2017). Reengaging New York City's Disconnected Youth Through Work: Implementation and Early Impacts of the Young Adult Internship Program (Report No. 2017-22). Washington, DC: Office of Planning, Research and Evaluation, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.


  • The study’s objective was to examine the implementation of the Young Adult Internship Program (YAIP) which focuses on providing training and paid internship work experience to disadvantaged youth between the ages of 16-24 years old who are currently living in poverty, have dropped out of school or are unemployed.  
  • The study authors conducted an implementation evaluation using participant data upon program entry from Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) and the New York Center for Economic Opportunity (CEO), interviews with key program staff and YAIP management, observations of internship sites, and participant and worksite questionnaires.  
  • The study found that the YAIP program was implemented as designed with high fidelity.  
  • YAIP providers experienced challenges in recruiting participants from high need communities and meeting the performance expectations of DYCD and CEO. DYCD and CEO relaxed the recruitment guidelines to allow providers to recruit participants from all over New York City to expand the pool of participants.  
  •  The companion impact study was reviewed by CLEAR in July 2022. 

Intervention Examined

Young Adult Internship Program

Features of the Intervention

  • Type of Organization: The New York Department of Youth and Community Development and New York City Center for Economic Opportunity 
  • Location/setting: New York City, New York 
  • Population served and scale: Disadvantaged youth aged 16-24; 2,678 participants 
  • Industry Focus: Not Included 
  • Intervention Activities: Paid internships, educational workshops, case management, follow up services 
  • Organizational Partnerships: Employers 
  • Cost: Phase 1-3 cost $3,374-person, Support services cost $115 per person, Wages cost $1942 per person. Total cost for YAIP was $5,431 per person. 
  • Fidelity: High 

The Young Adults Internship Program (YAIP) was funded by the Administration for Children and Families within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and implemented by the New York Department of Youth and Community Development and the New York City Center for Economic Opportunity. YAIP was introduced in 2007 as a workforce development program for young people who fell off track to reduce long term economic hardship. YAIP targeted New York City residents between the ages of 16 to 24 years of age who were eligible to work in the United States and were neither enrolled in school nor working. Participants must have had at least a sixth grade reading level on the Test for Adult Basic Education assessment, no post-secondary school degree, at least one semester removed from dropping out of high school or college, and no prior participation in a CEO-funded paid internship. From July 2013 through March 2014, participants were enrolled in cohorts and were randomly assigned to receive YAIP services or control group services. Thirteen community providers across the Brooklyn, Bronx, Manhattan, and Queens boroughs were selected to implement the YAIP model by winning a competition that was conducted by DYCD and CEO. YAIP was implemented in three phases. For two to four weeks, participants attended daily workshops and were paid minimum wage for 25 hours per week. The second phase was conducted for 10 to 12 weeks during which participants worked at internship sites for 20 hours per week at minimum wage. The third phase lasted for nine months during which YAIP providers helped participants secure and maintain unsubsidized employment, education, training, or military service. 

Features of the Study

This implementation study assessed how closely evaluation sites adhered to the delivery of the YAIP as designed. The authors used both quantitative and qualitative data to assess implementation, including on-site observations, interviews with participants and key provider staff, a survey of all providers, a survey of 570 participants in two of the three cohorts, and program participant data of participant interaction.  


Intervention activities/services

  • The study found that YAIP provided a multiphase program for disadvantaged youth to provide long lasting employment opportunities in the future.  
  • The study found that YAIP participants were 31% more likely than the control group to have received help related to finding and keeping a job. 


  • Study authors found that the intervention was implemented consistently across all providers.  
  • Study authors found that providers delivered the intervention with a high degree of fidelity.  

Implementation challenges and solutions

  • The study found that YAIP providers had high staff turnover due to staff burnout.  
  • The study found that YAIP providers reported oversight and performance expectations of DYCD and CEO as restrictive and unrealistic. 
  • The study found that YAIP providers had difficulty with recruiting ideal participants for the cohorts and implementing the services needed to keep the study progressing at the same time. 


  • The study found that the average cost for YAIP services during phases 1 through 3 cost $3,374 per person, support services such as transportation cost $115 per person, and wages paid to participants cost $1,942 per person. The total cost for YAIP participants was $5,431 per person.  
  • Study authors noted that the YAIP price per person was lower and that YAIP offered fewer services than other programs serving a similar population.  

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The authors noted that there were some resource limitations around survey data collection and recruitment of the target population. 

Reviewed by CLEAR

May 2023

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