Sunday, January 25, 2015

Would Alternatives to Summer Work be as Effective for At-Risk Youth?

     In the article  "Chicago gave hundreds of high-risk kids a summer job..." by Emily Badger discussed the study where high-risks kids were given jobs over the summer and the relationship between the violent crimes by the kids in the program and the control group. The findings were positive showing that even after the 8 week program was over the rate of violent crime was decreased.
        This type of study is almost a "Duh of course it works" but as many things it needs to be tested before any conclusions are made. I believe there are several reasons that the programs have worked. The first being the social implications of having a job. You aren't percieved as a lowlife when you are gainfully employed and working to better your position. I feel this has a huge impact on how a person carries themselves. It's easier to believe that you aren't the type of person to commit violent crimes if everyone else believes it as well.
     Despite many of the benifits for youth I thought of some potential negative side effects that this programs could have that would make businesses reluctant to participate. I'm speaking about the fact  that these people are hired for the fact that they are "at risk" as opposed to how well they have performed at previous jobs or how they present themselves in an interview. This could lead to the situation where they aren't good workers and need babysitting to perform basic tasks in their job description.
      After reading the article I believe that the program is very beneficial but it left me with questions. Would other programs that take youths off the streets and allow them to be productive with their time give the same benefits? I believe so but it is possible that the small amount of additional income they are bringing into their household has enough of an effect so that their parents are more able to provide for them. One fact that makes me think that other programs would be effective is that the at risk youths involved in the program were all provided a mentor. I believe this mentor had a huge impact on the youths as it provides a positive role model for them to follow while on the job and after they were done. Having an alternative to summer work removes the risks that businesses take on from the high-risk youth while potentially still providing the same benefits that the work programs provide.

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