On February 17, 2009, President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act into law. Passed in response to the 2008 recession, the Act’s purpose was to create jobs, pump money into the economy, and encourage spending. Through the Act, states received $1.2 billion in funding for the workforce investment system to provide employment and training activities targeted to disadvantaged youth. Congress and the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL) encouraged states and local workforce investment areas charged with implementing these youth activities to use the funds to create employment opportunities for these youth in the summer of 2009.
To gain insights into these summer initiatives, DOL’s Employment and Training Administration contracted with Mathematica Policy Research to conduct an implementation evaluation of the summer youth employment activities funded by the Recovery Act. As part of the evaluation, Mathematica analyzed (1) monthly performance data submitted to ETA by the states, and (2) qualitative data collected through in-depth site visits to 20 local areas. This report describes the national context for implementation, provides an in-depth description of the experience of selected local areas, and presents lessons on implementation practices that may inform future summer youth employment efforts.