Date of Award

1979

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Community Planning (MCP)

Department

Community Planning and Area Development

First Advisor

Marcia Marker Feld

Abstract

In this thesis project, the problem of youth unemployment, particularly among high school dropouts, is first examined from a national view, reviewing national trends and characteristics of the youth unemployment-high school dropout problem. A cursory review of the literature on the particular problem of youth unemployment and high school dropouts is conducted in order to focus on the youth unemployment-high school dropout situation in Providence with a conceptual understanding of the problem.

Various methodologies are used in the analysis of the problem in Providence combined with the collection and analysis of limited data sources that are available. A general conclusion of this analysis is that the youth unemployment problem is likely to worsen over the next few years, especially among high school dropouts and minorities. The major factors attributed to this projected increase in youth unemployment are: (1) the continuing trend in the local labor market of unfavorable job opportunities for youth, and (2) the projected increase in the minority youth population. The analysis reveals that high school dropouts in the Rhode Island labor market enter the lowest paying jobs and are at a considerable competitive disadvantage even though the predominance of manufacturing jobs in the state have minimal or no educational or skills requirements.

Job training programs for youth high school dropouts are examined. It is concluded that these programs are reasonably successful in terms of increasing the employability of youth dropouts, although there are differences in the placement rates and entry wage levels of the various programs. Statistical analysis of the participant characteristics and their termination status reveals that the most significant participant related factor affecting positive termination is the length of unemployment experienced by participants prior to their entering the job training program. Participants who were unemployed for the longest periods of time prior to their enrollment in the program were the most likely to have a negative termination status. It is concluded that the long-term impact of the programs in terms of increasing the employability of youth dropouts is questionable. Little or no follow-up evaluations are routinely conducted by Providence C.E.T.A. Prime Sponsor. As part of this study, a six-month follow-up survey of Y.E.T.P. participants in 1978 was conducted through Providence C.E.T.A. Although the number of survey responses were insufficient for making definitive conclusions, these were two indications that appear to be significant: (1) that a substantial number of Y.E.T.P. participants of 1978 are now unemployed and looking for work, and (2) that a relatively small proportion of the participants have received their high school equivalences as an outcome of the program.

Finally, recommendations are made in terms of the following strategy areas: (1) reduce youth unemployment through an intensified economic development effort in Providence, (2) improve C.E.T.A. youth programs in terms of routine follow-up evaluations, a re-emphasis of the remedial education aspects of the programs, and the development of stronger, formal linkages with private sector employees; (3) successful in terms of increasing the employability of youth dropouts, although there are differences in the placement rates and entry of the various programs. Statistical analysis of the participant characteristics and their termination status reveals that the most significant participant related factor affecting positive termination is the length of unemployment experienced by participants prior to their entering the job training program. Participants who were unemployed for the longest periods of time prior to their enrollment in the program were the most likely to have a negative termination status. It is concluded that the long-term impact of the programs in terms of increasing the employability of youth dropouts is questionable. Little or no follow-up evaluations are routinely conducted by Providence C.E.T.A. Prime Sponsor. As part of this study, a six-month follow-up survey of Y.E.T.P. participants in 1978 was conducted through Providence C.E.T.A. Although the number of survey responses were insufficient for making definitive conclusions, these were two indications that appear to be significant: (1) that a substantial number of Y.E.T.P. participants of 1978 are now unemployed and looking for work, and (2) that a relatively small proportion of the participants have received their high school equivalences as an outcome of the program.

Finally, recommendations are made in terms of the following strategy areas: (1) reduce youth unemployment through an intensified economic development effort in Providence, (2) improve C.E.T.A. youth programs in terms of routine follow-up evaluations, a re-emphasis of the remedial education aspects of the programs, and the development of stronger, formal linkages with private sector employees; (3) improve information systems on high school dropouts to include their labor force status after dropping out--through the use of surveys and studies, and (4) conduct further studies of the Providence School System in terms of the availability and effectiveness of dropout prevention programs, work-education programs, and efforts directed toward easing the school-to-work transition of youths, particularly economically disadvantaged youths.

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