This book examines after-school programs in light of their explosive growth in recent years. In the rush to mount programs, there is a danger of promoting weak ones of little value and failing to implement strong ones adequately. But what is quality and how can it be achieved? This book presents findings from an intensive study of three after-school centers that differed dramatically in quality. Drawing from 233 site visits, the authors examine how - and why - young people thrive in good programs and suffer in weak ones. The book features engaging, in-depth case studies of each of the three centers and of six youths, two from each center. Written in a highly accessible style for academics, youth workers, after-school program leaders and policy makers, the study breaks new ground in highlighting the importance of factors such as collective mentoring, synergies among different programs and activities, and organizational culture and practices.
Minority youth unemployment is an enduring economic and social concern. This book evaluates two new initiatives for minority high school students that seek to cultivate marketable job skills. The first is an after-school program that provides experiences similar to apprenticeships, and the second emphasizes new approaches to improving job interview performance. The evaluation research has several distinct strengths. It involves a randomized controlled trial, uncommon in assessments of this issue and age group. Marketable job skills are assessed through a mock job interview developed for this research and administered by experienced human resource professionals. Mixed methods are utilized, with qualitative data shedding light on what actually happens inside the programs, and a developmental science approach situating the findings in terms of adolescent development. Beneficial for policy makers and practitioners as well as scholars, Job Skills and Minority Youth focuses on identifying the most promising tactics and addressing likely implementation issues.
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