Preparing New York City high school students for the workforce: Evaluation of the Scholars at Work program
In 2009, the New York City Department of Small Business Services and Department of Education created Scholars at Work (SAW), a program available to high school seniors enrolled in Career and Technical Education (CTE) programs at city high schools that opted to participate. Implementation of SAW was the responsibility of Workforce1 Industrial & Transportation Career (ITC) Centers. The goal of SAW is to expose students to career opportunities, to provide them with real-life work experience alongside adults, and to develop their workplace skills. SAW has two core components, each a semester in length: a career exploration module and an internship that places high school seniors with employers. In career exploration, students engage in activities in a classroom setting designed to develop their soft skills and workplace competencies while learning about career opportunities through visits from industry experts. In the internship module, students participate in a paid, after-school internship at a local business for approximately 13 weeks. Prepared in response to a 2016 request by the New York City Mayor’s Office for Economic Opportunity, this report presents the findings of an external evaluation of the SAW program — in particular, how well it is preparing students for employment and postsecondary education. Researchers conducted an implementation study that examined and described SAW’s activities and processes to understand the extent to which they function as the designers and implementers of the program intended. They also conducted an outcomes study to analyze how SAW participants are faring in the labor market, compared with similar graduates of New York City public schools.