Innovations in Summer Youth Employment to Support Scale, Equity, and Quality
PENCIL is proud to release Innovations in Summer Youth Employment to Support Scale, Equity, and Quality, a paper sharing reflections about the creation, outcomes, and implications of Career Explorers — a new model for summer employment and work-based learning.
For over 25 years, PENCIL has been creating and managing programs that bring together students, business leaders and educators in innovative programs that connect students to success. PENCIL has worked with over 37,000 students increasing their access to mentors, skills, and opportunities. Since 2007, over 5,000 of those students have participated in PENCIL’s summer internship and employment programs.
After placing 589 students in internships in 2019, the PENCIL team started 2020, preparing to once again place over 500 students in paid summer internships. With the advent of the pandemic, the economic downturn that followed, and overall uncertainty in the city, summer internships were on fragile ground by early spring. In April, the city announced the cancellation of the Summer Youth Employment Program.
Throughout the spring, major corporations were disbanding summer internship programs. By May, many workers and students were experiencing fatigue with remote work and learning, leading to questions about how students could thrive in summer programs after an exceptionally challenging school year.
Throughout the spring and early summer, the PENCIL team worked tirelessly with new partners and new models to secure paid work experiences for students while also considering sustainable solutions to the challenges that have always plagued summer youth employment. Ultimately, PENCIL successfully placed 342 young people in paid summer work experiences through four programs – Remote Internships, Career Explorers, SYEP Summer Bridge, and a partnership program with New Visions for Public Schools. Additionally, PENCIL provided enrichment and training for an additional 700 students who were enrolled in SYEP Summer Bridge with other providers.
One of PENCIL’s most successful innovations was the creation of the Career Explorers program. PENCIL served 46 high school students through the Careers Explorers program and engaged more than 99 volunteers from 16 companies. PENCIL created this model in response to the decreased availability of traditional internship placements by designing a paid simulated internship program with high-quality, high-touch, work-based learning that was decoupled from a business placement.
Career Explorers offers a unique blueprint for PENCIL and other partners to examine as part of the solution to scale high-quality summer youth employment in New York City. Through a data-based approach, the paper presents the program’s outcomes compared to virtual internships, opportunities for even more substantial impact, and the possibilities embedded in the model to add capacity and equity in the summer youth employment and youth talent development pipeline in New York City.
To download the full paper, click the image below: