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Process evaluation of the Demand-Side Youth Offender Demonstration Project (Phase II) (McNeil Education, Training and Evaluation 2008)

Citation

McNeil Education, Training and Evaluation (2008). Process evaluation of the Demand-Side Youth Offender Demonstration Project (Phase II). Chapel Hill, NC: McNeil Education.

Highlights

  • The study’s objective was to examine the impact of being matched to employment through the Demand-Side Youth Offender Demonstration Project (DSYODP) Phase I on youths’ average weekly earnings.
  • The study compared the wages of employed youth who were matched to employment through DSYODP with the wages of employed youth who were eligible for the DSYODP but had secured employment through other means.
  • The study found that average weekly wages of youth matched to employment through DSYODP were significantly higher than wages of youth who secured employment through other means.
  • The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is moderate because it was based on a well-implemented nonexperimental design. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the DSYODP; however, other factors might also have contributed.

Intervention Examined

Demand-Side Youth Offender Demonstration Project (DSYODP)

Features of the Intervention

DSYODP built on the experience of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration’s Youth Offender Demonstration Project, which aimed to prevent delinquency among youth offenders and at-risk youth by helping them obtain long-term employment with adequate wage levels. DSYODP served employers in need of qualified workers; an intermediary connected employers with ex-offenders and at-risk youth ages 18 to 25. The intermediary screened youth and matched them with prospective employers to increase the likelihood that the youth would satisfy employers’ needs, prioritizing matching youth with positions that paid retention wages. The intermediary also provided follow-up services after placement. The intermediary recruited youth through youth development organizations, which provided the youth with a variety of services at the time of recruitment.

Features of the Study

The authors compared the wages and quarters of employment of youth who were matched to employment through the DSYODP and those of employed youth who were eligible for the DSYODP but secured employment through other means. The authors used statistical methods to ensure that the groups were similar in terms of gender, race, education level, marital status, offender status, and parenthood status of the youth, among other characteristics. Although two centers in different locations implemented the demonstration, the analysis included only youth enrolled in the Washington, D.C., center.

Findings

  • The study found that average weekly wages of youth matched to employment through DSYODP were about 48 percent higher than those of youth who secured employment through other means.
  • There was no statistically significant difference in the proportion of quarters youth placed through DSYODP had been employed, relative to youth not placed through DSYODP.

Considerations for Interpreting the Findings

The analysis of impacts of DSYODP on earnings and employment focused specifically on the differences in outcomes between youth who secured employment through DSYODP and those who secured employment through other means. Both groups contained DSYODP participants and could thus receive many services in addition to the job matching, such as resume writing, computer training, self-esteem building, clothing assistance, job shadowing, child care, housing and transportation services, and more. It is unclear to what extent the receipt of these services varied between the two groups; thus, it is possible that differences in receiving these services, and not the job matching alone, drove the differences in observed outcomes. In addition, the analysis included only youth who were employed. Thus, the results might not apply to the full set of DSYODP participants.

Causal Evidence Rating

The quality of causal evidence presented in this report is moderate because it was based on a well-implemented nonexperimental design. This means we are somewhat confident that the estimated effects are attributable to the DSYODP; however, other factors might also have contributed.

Reviewed by CLEAR

August 2016