The Power of Youth Employment - STL Youth Jobs
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The Power of Youth Employment

Why Youth Jobs – The Impact

Youth employment has a transformative effect on many indicators that affect the growth of our region and the success of our youth. It’s a high-leverage place to invest.

The potential for positive impact is truly staggering

Higher Earnings

Early employment opportunities translate into higher earnings in adulthood

Higher Graduation Rates

Youth who work are more likely to graduate high school and attend college

Financial Inclusion

Youth having access to money, bank accounts, and learning how to manage their money has dramatic impact

Stronger Communities

Youth who work become contributors to their communities

Decreased Youth Violence

Youth who work are less likely to contribute to juvenile crime

Taxpayers Save

Investing in youth employment is a proactive way to create productive citizens and reduce the burden of unengaged youth on society

Higher Earnings

Early employment opportunities translate into higher earnings in adulthood

  • For every year a youth works, their income in their twenties rises 14–16%1
  • Positive effects of teen employment on earnings can last up to 10 years2

Higher Graduation Rates

Youth who work are more likely to graduate high school and attend college3

  • The average lifetime cost of a high school dropout is over $306,0004
  • 83% of STL Youth employees said being in the program made them want to get more schooling

Financial Inclusion

Youth having access to money, bank accounts, and learning how to manage their money has dramatic impact

  • Working toward financial inclusion and financial capability for children and youth will help them in their capacity to find employment or undertake entrepreneurship and to become productive and economically active members of society.5
  • A wide variety of studies suggest a positive relationship between the ownership of a savings account and higher levels of economic and financial well-being such as savings, income, and assets, as well as academic achievement and educational attainment.6
Access to financial and social assets is essential to helping youth make their own economic decisions and escape poverty.

– UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon

Stronger Communities

Youth who work become contributors to their communities

  • In 2014, over $500,000 in wages was returned to low-income communities through STL Youth Jobs participants. This has a direct impact on stimulating the local economy

Decreased Youth Violence

Youth who work are less likely to contribute to juvenile crime

  • 63% of all juvenile crime is committed by youth who are neither working nor in school7
  • Youth Employment is identified as a key leverage point to reduce youth violence8
  • 99% of our youth recommended the STL Youth Jobs program as an important way to stay out of trouble during the summer9
STL Youth Jobs helped me a lot. I’m not a problem child, but the summertime is where I had a lot of my problems. This program gave me something better to do with my summer.

– Julia, STL Youth Employee

Taxpayers Save

Investing in youth employment is a proactive way to create productive citizens and reduce the burden of unengaged youth on society

  • The average youth who is neither working nor in school costs taxpayers an average of $215,580. (In other words, spending up to that amount on each opportunity youth could be justified by the return to taxpayers)10
If we know that youth employment has a powerful impact on so many indicators that affect both our youth, and the future of our region, let’s invest on the front end in innovative, proactive, evidence-based solutions that generate a significant return on investment.

– Michelle Henry, VP Global Philanthropy, J.P. Morgan

[1] Christine Vestal, Tracking the recession: Stimulus helps revive summer youth jobs programs, http://www.stateline.org/live/details/story?contentId=411651

[2] Andrew Sum et al, Confronting the Youth Demographic Challenge

[3] Research on New York City’s Summer Youth Employment Program found that participation in the program was associated with increased attendance the following year and improved academic performance. See Jacob Leos-Urbel, What Is a Summer Job Worth? The Impact of Summer Youth Employment on Academic Outcomes: Evidence from a Large-Scale Lottery, Working Paper #05-12, New York University, June 2012; available at: http://steinhardt.nyu.edu/scmsAdmin/media/users/spa2/Working_Paper_5-12.pdf

[5] Child & Youth Finance International and Mastercard – “Banking a New Generation”

[6] Mastercard report

[7] Brookings Report

[8] Youth Violence Prevention Funder Learning Collaborative

[9] 2014 UMSL Evaluation report of STL Youth Jobs Program

[10] Clive R. Belfield, Henry M. Levin, and Rachel Rosen, The Economic Value of Opportunity Youth (Corporation for Economic and Community Service and the White House Council for Community Solutions, 2012); available at: http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED528650.pdf