Explores fidelity to the YouthBuild program model at 75 YouthBuild sites nationwide and illustrates variation and similarities in service provision across them, including for educational services, vocational training, and supportive services.

The report highlights findings from implementation site visits made to 75 YouthBuild sites across the United States during 2012 and 2013, undertaken as part of a larger random assignment study of the program. YouthBuild is a “‘second chance’ program providing a mix of academics, vocational training, leadership development, community service, and other activities to high school dropouts facing an array of challenges to educational and employment success” (p.ES-1). The implementation evaluation pays particular attention to the sites’ fidelity to the YouthBuild model, services and organizational characteristics, and local context, and considers factors affecting implementation and implications for the impact study. In addition, the study examines demographic characteristics of both YouthBuild participants and those youth who were not selected for the program. It also provides information about similar services available in each community. The report will be followed by the results of the impact study in two additional reports, to be released in 2017 and 2018.

(Abstractor: Author and Website Staff)

Major Findings & Recommendations

“Some of the key findings presented in this report include the following, which highlight how a principle-based model like YouthBuild can be implemented differently in different places while still remaining true to the model’s essence: • YouthBuild was implemented with reasonably high fidelity among the programs in this evaluation. Fidelity was consistently high in vocational training, but varied more among programs in leadership development…and preparation for postsecondary education” (p.ES-2). • “YouthBuild programs targeted young people who were demographically at risk, but actually enrolled young people who demonstrated a ‘readiness to change’ by making it through a demanding screening process and Mental Toughness Orientation. On average, programs recruited nearly four applicants for each available YouthBuild slot…The young people who did enroll were therefore more likely to be highly motivated to succeed than the general population eligible for YouthBuild. • “YouthBuild programs were generally successful in augmenting their core educational and vocational services with a broad array of supplemental services, including life-skills training and workforce-preparation activities. Because participants faced multiple barriers to success, most programs emphasized life-skills training and workforce-preparation activities such as soft-skills training, career exploration, and job-search assistance. • “YouthBuild is typically more robust and comprehensive than other youth programs located in the same communities…YouthBuild participants in this evaluation therefore probably received a wider array of services than those who were not allowed to enroll in YouthBuild” (p.ES-3). • “The impact analysis will be able to provide a rigorous assessment of YouthBuild’s effects. Because the programs participating in the evaluation generally demonstrated high fidelity to the YouthBuild model, the impact analysis will provide a good assessment of the effects of YouthBuild. Further, because there is some variation in fidelity across programs, and substantial variation in services and organizational characteristics, the impact analysis will be able to examine whether this variation affects impacts” (p.ES-3-4). (Abstractor: Author)