Published on May 20th, 2015 | by Millennium Magazine Staff


Summer Youth Employment Programs Linked to Higher Success Rates

Pictured SWELP participant, Santora Byrd, a freshman at Spring Valley High School.

With more than half of youth employed last year during the summer months, it’s no secret that youth take advantage of the opportunity to earn money when they are out of school; however, is it all about the money? Studies say no.

According to the Hamilton Project, Summer Youth Employment Programs (SYEPs) attribute to higher success rates in youth, especially in low-income youth, including an increase in school attendance, an increase in reading and math scores and a decrease of negative behaviors. Summer employment also allows youth to learn responsibility, time management and financial stability.

Unfortunately, youth employment rates have decreased significantly in the past decade. In part, this is a result of low funding for community based organizations (CBOs) that provide funding to SYEPs. To combat this, the community has a whole needs to pitch in.

The Columbia Urban League has launched a water bill campaign to raise funding for its Summer Work Experience Leadership Program (SWELP). The campaign allows citizens to contribute through their City of Columbia water bill and their donation will automatically be added to their monthly bill. Additionally, people who want to donate can also do it directly through Columbia Urban League’s website

“We’re looking to increase SWELP jobs from 250 to 1000 this summer,” said Mayor Benjamin. “We have to keep making deposits into the bank for our youth.”

SWELP is an evidence-based career development program for youth ages 14-19 that provides youth with valuable work experience that helps foster responsibility, a strong work ethic and self-esteem. The purpose of this program is to provide primarily disadvantaged youth with summer work and service learning in an effort to help them gain the necessary fundamental skills they will need to ensure future employment opportunities.


For more information, call the Columbia Urban League at 803-799-8150.



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