Crime Lab, Poverty Lab One Summer Chicago Plus

Cities across the country invest in summer employment opportunities for youth. In Chicago, One Summer Chicago (OSC) provides jobs to thousands of youth as part of the city’s anti-violence strategy. Conventional wisdom suggests that “nothing stops a bullet like a job,” but does providing youth with summer-long employment really reduce violence? 

In partnership with the Chicago Department of Family & Support Services, the Crime Lab has been studying the impact of summer jobs since 2012. A randomized controlled trial conducted by Crime and Poverty Lab affiliate Sara Heller (University of Pennsylvania) found that Chicago’s 2012 OSC program for at-risk youth reduced violent-crime arrests by 43 percent over 16 months. The persistence of the impacts long after the program ended demonstrates the promise of this strategy for reducing violence and improving outcomes for youth.

In February 2015, Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced a $10 million private investment to expand summer jobs programming over the following two years, to reach over 30,000 youth. The Crime and Poverty Labs will continue to partner with the city to learn more about this promising model.

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