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Evaluation of the 2013 Community Violence Prevention Program's Youth Employment Program

NCJ Number
Jessica Reichert
Date Published
June 2014
102 pages
This report presents the findings and methodology of an evaluation of the Illinois Community Violence Prevention Program's (CVPP's) Youth Employment Program (YEP), which offered job readiness training, mentoring, and summer employment for about 1,800 youth participants in 24 Chicago-area communities.
According to administrative data, 4,446 youth applied to the program, and 1,929 were accepted. A total of 433 did not complete the program for various reasons, and 322 were terminated from the program. The evaluation found that YEP met its goals of increasing job-readiness skills, guiding relationships between youth and a caring adult (mentoring), increasing youth productive time and community engagement, and improving the community through community service. Youth participants expressed their satisfaction with their training, job tasks, job supervision, their mentor, and the program. Generally, mentors were satisfied with their training, staff support, and the program. Both mentors and participants indicated they had strong, caring, and meaningful relationships with each other. Program staff and employers of the youth were satisfied with the program. Over half of employers said they would either hire youth or hire them if openings were available, and almost all employers indicated interest in participating in the program again. On the other hand, the evaluation did not show improvement in participant attitudes toward employment, attitudes toward violence, participants' self-esteem, and their understanding of and commitment to conflict resolution. There were small decreases in mean scores in these areas when comparing pre- and post-assessment. In order to improve the program, evaluators recommend that the program recruit more youth who are at-risk of problem behaviors and in need of services. The employment component could be improved by interactive training methods, job matching to youth employment preferences, and higher pay. The mentoring component could be enhanced through more purposeful interactions between mentors and youth. Additional evaluation with increased participant data collection is needed. 33 tables, 20 figures, 41 references, and appended pre- and post-assessment