This report presents the implementation and early impact results from a random assignment evaluation of the Young Adult Internship Program (YAIP), a subsidized employment program for young people in New York City who have become disconnected from school and work. Operated by various provider agencies, YAIP offers disconnected youth between the ages of 16 and 24 a temporary paid internship and various support services.

This report is the first of two focused on the YAIP evaluation. It provides a detailed description of the YAIP model, assesses its implementation, and examines whether the program improved young people’s outcomes during the first year after study enrollment.

From July 2013 to March 2014, researchers assigned nearly 2,700 young people at random to either a program group that was offered YAIP services or to a control group. The YAIP evaluation measured outcomes for both groups over time to assess whether YAIP services led to better outcomes for the program group compared with those of the control group.

YAIP intends to reengage youth who have fallen off track, thereby reducing their risk of long-term economic hardship. This study answers the following research questions:

  1. How was YAIP designed and operated?
  2. What impact did YAIP have on employment and earnings, education and training, and wellbeing relative to what would have happened in the absence of the program?
  3. Did YAIP appear to be more effective for certain subgroups of young people?
  4. To what extent do YAIP’s costs differ from those expended on behalf of individuals randomly assigned to a control group that could not receive YAIP program services?
  5. How does this cost differential relate to the benefits associated with program impacts, if any?

Major Findings & Recommendations

Overall, the implementation study concluded that the YAIP program was well implemented across provider agencies and that participation rates were high. An analysis of youth outcomes indicates that program group members were more likely than control group members to receive employment and other types of support. In addition, the following findings were reported:

  1. Participation rates were high: Over three-fourths of young people assigned to the program group worked in a subsidized internship, and 86 percent of those youth completed the internship.
  2. Program group members were more likely than control group members to report receiving employment support. However, substantial numbers of control group members also received help in these areas.
  3. The program group was more likely than the control group to have worked during the year following random assignment, but the employment rates of the two groups converged during the quarters after the YAIP internships ended.
  4. The program group had higher earnings than the control group. The earnings impacts persisted throughout the follow-up period, suggesting that program group members may have obtained better jobs than control group members.

Additional follow-up will be necessary to assess YAIP’s longer-term effects on employment and earnings, as well as other key outcomes.