This resource documents how Youth Career Connect (YCC) grantees implemented the program and its effectiveness. This evaluation, which included an impact study, examines the impact of participation in the YCC program on student success during high school and an implementation study, which examines how the YCC programs developed throughout the four years of the grants.

YCC is a high-school-based program that blended academic and career-focused learning to better prepare students for both college and careers. The report builds on two previous implementation reports by explaining how schools engaged employers and workforce agencies as partners. It draws on data from three sources: a survey of all 24 YCC grantees in 2015 and 2017; information reported by grantees in the YCC Participant Tracking System (PTS) as of spring 2016 and spring 2018, and three rounds of visits and telephone calls from 2015-16 to 2017-18 to selected schools and partner organizations of 10 grantees.

The survey gathered information about YCC program activities and services offered in one of the grantee’s high schools. The PTS collected information about the activities and services each YCC student received. Site visits and telephone calls provided in-depth information on the planning, design, and implementation of the YCC program.

Major Findings & Recommendations

Key findings from the analysis of data gathered during this evaluation of YCC grantees suggests the following:

  • Employer partnerships grew stronger over the course of the grant and were supported by dedicated YCC staff.
  • Employer partners advised in program planning and curriculum and supported increases in internships and mentoring over time.
  • YCC staff faced several challenges in providing work experiences and mentoring, including a lack of transportation to job sites, workplace age restrictions and employer liability concerns, school district regulations, and coordinating school and employee work schedules.
  • Workforce agency involvement was uneven across grantees, but the agencies provided planning support and direct student services at some YCC grants.

The authors provided the following recommendations to the Employment and Training Administration:

  • Establish a dedicated partner liaison to develop and maintain employer and workforce agency partnerships.
  • Regularly engage partners through advisory boards or other avenues for eliciting partner input, and by establishing clear roles for partners within the program.
  • Anticipate and problem-solve for barriers to internships and mentoring beyond recruiting enough employer partners.
  • Motivate employers with a pipeline of skilled workers
  • Utilize workforce agency partners to identify local economic and labor market conditions, establish employer partnerships, and provide work readiness training and career counseling.