Integrating Year-Round and Summer
Under a contract with USDOL, Westat and subcontractor, Decision Information Resources Inc., have produced a technical assistance guide that outlines eight programs that have successfully integrated or are in the process of integrating their summer and year-round youth services. This guide includes a case study of each program and key “lessons learned”.
This initiative found certain themes reoccurring in these case studies as they developed successful comprehensive year-round programs for youth. Below, I have highlighted these themes and challenges as reported in the summary. To obtain a full copy of the summary and report, go to http://www.wdsny.org/ under “What’s New for 7/24/00” Technical Assistance Guide For Integrating Youth Employment and Training Services.
Reoccurring Themes From the Case Studies:
Design summer/school-year programs around specific vocational areas or career paths. Connecting the summer work experience - with part-time jobs or internships - with the classroom instruction with vocational skills.
Amongst all the partners these programs are working with, they found that the most important linkage with year-round youth programs is the partnership between the program sponsors and the local public school systems.
Integrating summer and school-year programs allow program directors to provide a longer and extensive plan for the youths. This in turn allows provision of progressively challenging training and work assignments.
Development of portfolios for the summer program may be used in preparing resumes and job interviews. Some of the programs negotiated with the school systems to award academic credit for the summer experience based on the contents of the portfolio.
Developing and using agreed-upon competencies through the integrated year-round program. The youth and the coordinator/counselor develop this list and what tasks and projects need to be accomplished.
Challenges Found while Integrating Year-Round and Summer Activities:
- The movement to a year-round program may reduce the number of youth available just for summer employment. Local employers may have an adverse reaction as they have relied on the summer program for free labor.
- The establishment of a year-round program has increased the number of “long-term” relationships counselors have with youths. The counselors are now having to address an array of youths personal problems and finding it necessary to be in close contact with the families and social service agencies.
- Difficulty in creating a definition of “completion” and devising follow-up strategies.
- The emphasis on performance standards may affect recruitment and enrollment strategies. Some programs may not want to enroll youth who are not likely to succeed in completing the program.
- Meeting the challenge of expending 30% WIA dollars on out-of-school youth. Programs are looking for creative ways to locate and recruit older youth not attending any schools.