In 2015, the City of Albany’s LIGHT Summer Youth Employment Program received a Livability Award from the U.S. Conference of Mayors for its Friday enrichment program. Enrichment included a financial literacy workshop, a tour at UAlbany, a career exploration workshop, and a “Know Your Rights” program led by representatives from the Albany Police Department and the Center for Law and Justice. This “fifth day” of enrichment resulted from input from parents, participants and community leaders to make sure Albany’s youth were exposed to the broad opportunities that were available to them as they planned for their futures.
LIGHT strives to introduce and prepare youth for the world of work by helping them identify career interests and attain skills and good work habits. This is also a source of income for the participants.
In 2019, the Center for Human Services Research (CHSR) at the University at Albany conducted an evaluation of the SYEP.
The evaluation consisted of two components:
- Analysis of academic outcomes of youth entering their freshman year of high school for the years 2008-2018. Youth participating in SYEP were compared with those who never participated in SYEP.
- Analysis of program implementation through surveys of youth and employers (worksites) that participated in SYEP in 2019.
In this report, we presented the findings from these analyses and provided recommendations for the future.