Numbers Don’t Lie – Summer Jobs Make a Difference

Each summer, the City of Boston, Office of the Corporation Counsel hires two students through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.

Each summer, the City of Boston, Office of the Corporation Counsel hires two students through the BBA Summer Jobs Program.

Our longtime Beyond the Billable readers know how focused the BBA is on providing Summer Jobs for Boston youth. That’s why in addition to sharing stories of our own student’s successes, we are always looking to track down research supporting the impact of these initiatives. In a recent Boston Globe article by Ruth Graham titled: Are Teen Jobs Becoming a Luxury Good?, Graham investigates racial and wealth inequalities of high schools students working during the summer, and how that can impact their overall success when it comes to education and income later in life. Here’s one excerpt that struck us:

They end up with better adult jobs and higher incomes, according to studies, as well as stronger “soft skills” like dependability, punctuality, confidence, and communication. For boys, especially, the chances of enrolling in and graduating from college are significantly higher for those who worked in high school. “Work experience matters a lot,” said Paul Harrington, director of the Center for Labor Markets and Policy at Drexel University.

The article also shared some sobering statistics on the current summer jobs situation*:

  •  On average only about 25% of students age 16-19 work in a given month, the lowest rate since the 1940’s, and 20% lower than in 2000.
  •  In summer 2012 only 21 % of teenagers from low-income families worked at all
  •  38 % of teenagers with household incomes between $100,000 and $150,000 worked last summer.
  •  White teenagers were 2 times as likely to have worked last summer as black teens.
  •  Last summer, almost ½ of all white male teens with family incomes between $100,000 and $149,000 had jobs
  •  Only 9.1 % of black male teens with families in the lowest income group had jobs last summer.
  •  Teenagers who work in high school and college wind up with salaries 16 % higher than teens who don’t work.
  •  “Low-promise” respondents—those who have poor grades and low education goals—were almost 3 times as likely to acquire a college degree if they worked consistently approximately 14 hours a week.

These studies, and others, have shown that low-income teens and those who struggle in school benefit most dramatically from working, and in addition, are more likely to contribute their income to family earnings. Through the BBA’s Summer Jobs Program, thanks to the generous support of law firms and legal organizations, we are able to find paid summer jobs for 64 Boston public school students and help change the cycles of inequality in our city. Learn more or join our effort to support Boston youth here.

*Please reference article for citations